Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. People with asthma get asthma attacks, which can include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. These can be triggered by things like dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, air pollution, tobacco smoke, and some foods.
Asthma is both genetic and environmental. Asthma affects infants and children, teens, and adults. Only your doctor is able to diagnose asthma.
Asthma treatments are either for immediate help (using quick-relief medication) or for long-term control, with medication typically provided through a medical device called an inhaler.
Talk to your doctor if you or a family member have asthma symptoms so that your symptoms can be addressed and you can get back to living a life where asthma is controlled, and it does not control you!
Asthma affects some 300 million people worldwide. With proper control and treatments, asthma can be treated and controlled. Follow these steps to help control your asthma.
- Talk to Your Doctor: Do you have frequent daytime and nighttime symptoms (cough, shortness of breath)? Do you use your quick relief inhaler often? Tell your doctor at the next visit.
- Identify Your Triggers: Identity your asthma triggers. Pay attention to things in the environment that make your asthma worse and stay away from them.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking makes your asthma worse and harms the health of loved ones around you. Stopping smoking is an important step to help control your asthma symptoms as well as those of your family, especially any children you live with.
- Exercise: If exercise makes your asthma worse, use your quick relief inhaler 15 minutes before you exercise.
- Flu Shots: Get a flu shot every year. You have a higher chance of getting sick and having more severe symptoms from the flu when you have asthma.
Not sure where to start?
Use this list next time you visit your doctor:
- Am I using my asthma medicine correctly?
- What is my asthma action plan?
- I would like a copy, and to update it at every doctor visit. What are my asthma triggers?
- How well are my asthma symptoms being controlled?
- Do I need to make any changes in my regular asthma medicines?
HPSM's Asthma Outreach Program
HPSM has a program that helps our members with asthma breath easier by avoiding preventable attacks. HPSM Health Promotion Coordinators call members who have not filled some or all of their controller inhaler prescriptions to:
- Remind them to fill and pick up their prescriptions from the pharmacy
- Emphasize the importance of using controller inhalers as prescribed to manage asthma symptoms
- Encourage them to contact their PCP if they have any questions about their asthma
To learn more about HPSM's Asthma Outreach Program (or stop getting calls from the program), call HPSM’s Health Education Department at 650-616-2165.