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During an asthma attack, the airways
swell and narrow. This makes it hard to breathe. Asthma is a lifelong problem,
but it does not have to limit you. If you take charge of your asthma, you can
lead a full and active life.
You and your doctor will make an
asthma action plan that outlines the two approaches to
taking charge of asthma:
Using the asthma action plan also helps you keep track of
your asthma and know how well your treatment is working.
If you or
your child has been recently diagnosed, it may seem like there is a lot to
remember. But the things you need to do to take charge of your asthma are
really quite simple. With some practice, they will become part of your normal
An action plan is based on zones that are defined by your symptoms, your peak flow, or both. There are three zones: green, yellow, and red. Your action plan tells you what to do when you are in each zone.
Check your symptoms or your peak flow, or both, on a regular basis, and use your action plan to see what
zone you are in. If you have yellow zone symptoms or if your peak flow drops below 80% of your
personal best measurement, follow your action plan. To
figure out what 80% of your personal best measurement is, multiply your
personal best measurement by 0.80. For example, if your personal best peak flow
is 400, then 80% of that is 400 times 0.80, which is 320. To figure what 50% of
your personal best peak flow is, multiply your personal best measurement by
Keep your regular follow-up appointments. During
checkups, your doctor will ask if your symptoms or your peak flow, or both, have held steady,
improved, or gotten worse. He or she will also ask if you have asthma symptoms
during exercise or at night. This information can help your doctor know if your
asthma category has changed or if you need to change
medicines or doses.
When you go to your doctor:
Current as of:
March 25, 2014
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Rohit K Katial, MD - Allergy and Immunology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
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