Managing severe asthma requires a comprehensive and personalized approach. It’s essential to work closely with your healthcare provider, usually a pulmonologist or asthma specialist, to develop a plan that suits your specific needs. Here are some key steps to effectively manage severe asthma:
Medical Assessment: Ensure you have received a proper diagnosis and that your asthma has been classified as severe based on objective criteria. Your healthcare provider will assess your symptoms, lung function, and other factors to determine the severity of your asthma.
Medication Management: Severe asthma often requires a combination of medications to control inflammation and bronchoconstriction. This may include long-acting bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting anticholinergics, leukotriene modifiers, and possibly biologic therapies if indicated.
In addition in refractory asthmatic patients, biologics such as omalizumab, benralizumab and mepolizumab or advanced bronchoscopic modalities like bronchial thermoplasty are tried to provide symptom control and to prevent future risk of exacerbations.
Asthma Action Plan: Work with your healthcare provider to create a written asthma action plan. This plan should outline step-by-step instructions on how to manage your asthma in different situations, including what medications to take, when to seek medical help, and how to handle asthma exacerbations.
Avoid Triggers: Identify and avoid asthma triggers that can worsen your symptoms. Common triggers may include allergens (e.g., pollen, dust mites, pet dander), smoke, air pollution, strong odors, cold air, and respiratory infections. Minimizing exposure to triggers can help reduce asthma flare-ups.
Regular Follow-ups: Schedule regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider to monitor your asthma and adjust your treatment plan as needed. These visits are essential to track your progress, assess lung function, and make any necessary changes to medications.
Peak Flow Monitoring: Learn to use a peak flow meter to monitor your lung function regularly. This simple device can help you and your healthcare provider gauge the severity of your asthma and adjust treatment accordingly.
Lifestyle Modifications: Adopt a healthy lifestyle by maintaining a balanced diet, staying physically active (with activities approved by your healthcare provider), managing stress, and getting enough restful sleep. These factors can positively impact your overall health and asthma management.
Allergy Management: If allergies trigger your asthma, consider allergy testing and discuss allergen immunotherapy options with your healthcare provider. Addressing underlying allergies may improve asthma control.
Emergency Preparedness: Ensure you and those close to you know how to recognize signs of a severe asthma attack and what to do in an emergency. Keep emergency contact information easily accessible.
Support and Education: Seek support from family, friends, or support groups who understand and can assist you in managing your condition. Also, educate yourself about asthma and stay informed about the latest treatment options and guidelines.
Remember that severe asthma can be complex, and managing it effectively may take time and adjustments. Communicate openly with your healthcare provider about your symptoms, concerns, and any challenges you face in managing your asthma. Working together as a team will lead to better asthma control and an improved quality of life.
Dr. Viswesvaran Balasubramanian
MD, DNB, DM (Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine)
Fellowship – Interventional Pulmonology & Sleep Medicine
Consultant Interventional Pulmonology
Yashoda Hospitals,Somajiguda, Hyderabad
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