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Is Your Asthma Under Control?

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If you have asthma, you are among the 1 in 13 people in the United States living with the condition.

Lynda Mitchell

Interim CEO, Allergy & Asthma Network

“Take an active role in your asthma management.”

Asthma is a chronic lung disease. It has two parts: airway inflammation and tightening of the airways, called bronchospasm. Asthma can cause coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. When symptoms suddenly worsen, it is called an asthma attack

Each day, 11 Americans die from asthma. But in most cases, asthma can be controlled.


What is asthma control? 

Good asthma control means minimal asthma symptoms with no limitation of daily activity. People with asthma should be able to do anything someone without asthma can do: sleep through the night; go on a hike; play soccer. People with asthma should be able to live a normal, active life.

Good asthma control requires treatment of symptoms and the underlying inflammation.

• Use a quick-relief inhaler to treat sudden symptoms and open the airways.

• Use a daily controller medication to prevent inflammation.

Ask your doctor to create for you a written Asthma Action Plan. An Asthma Action Plan tells you how to monitor your symptoms and when to use medication to keep your asthma under control.

Steps you can take to control your asthma: 

• Take your asthma medications as prescribed.

• Avoid triggers that cause symptoms.

• Get regular check-ups with your doctor.

Avoid asthma triggers

Asthma triggers can cause your airways to become inflamed and tighten up, making it harder to breathe. Your doctor will work with you to identify what triggers your asthma. It could be outdoor or indoor allergens, or certain irritants you inhale.

When you find out what triggers your asthma, do your best to avoid those triggers. You might have to make lifestyle changes:

• Stay indoors when pollen counts are high or air quality is poor.

• Clean up mold in your house.

• Avoid exposure to cigarettes.

• Use dust mite-proof encasing on bedding.

• Keep furry pets out of the bedroom.


When to talk with your doctor

If you have frequent asthma symptoms or use your quick-relief inhaler or oral corticosteroids too much, your asthma is not under good control.

Use the “Rules of Two®” to help you know whether your asthma is not under control. Signs of uncontrolled asthma include: 

• experiencing asthma symptoms more than two days a week 

• waking up at night due to asthma two or more times per month 

• refilling your quick-relief inhaler prescription more than two times per year 

• taking oral corticosteroids two or more times per year 

• measure changes in your peak flow with asthma symptoms more than two times 10 (20%) 

If you answered yes to any of the Rules of Two, or if you have been to the ER or hospitalized due to asthma, follow up with your doctor.

What causes asthma to get out of control? 

There are several reasons why asthma can be uncontrolled: 

• You might not be following your Asthma Action Plan. 

• You might not be on the right medication. 

• You might not be using your inhaler correctly.

Some types of asthma are very hard to control, such as eosinophilic asthma with Type 2 inflammation. Eosinophilic asthma may require special medications called biologics. You may need to see an asthma specialist. Visit and to learn more.

Take an active role

When a doctor prescribes an asthma medication, ask how it works and how to use it. Don’t stop or cut back just because you’re feeling better or concerned about side effects.


If you continue to have hard-to-control asthma, consider seeing an asthma specialist.

See if you’re eligible for free asthma coaching at

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