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ASTHMA - SEVEN STEPS TO HELP YOU FEEL GOODASTHMA - SEVEN STEPS TO HELP YOU FEEL GOOD

Most people with asthma can lead a healthy active lifestyle when they manage their condition well. Teresa Demetriou, National Education Services Manager from the Asthma Foundation explains.

ASTHMA - SEVEN STEPS TO HELP YOU FEEL GOOD

Most people with asthma can lead a healthy active lifestyle when they manage their condition well. Teresa Demetriou, National Education Services Manager from the Asthma Foundation explains.

A number of simple tips will help you manage your asthma well. Here are seven steps you can follow to better manage your asthma.

1 Understand how asthma affects you

Know your asthma symptoms (wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in chest, coughing) well and understand what is happening in your body when they appear. Act immediately to stop your asthma getting worse. Asthma is easier to handle when you can reduce your exposure to the things that trigger it, for example animals, colds and the flu, exercise, dust mites, fumes, medications, pollens, smoke, temperature and hormone changes.

2 Take your medication as prescribed

It is important to understand how your medications work, and then take them as prescribed. There are different devices to deliver your medications. Find out more about how your inhalers work by visiting www.asthmafoundation.org.nz.

3 Follow a self-management plan

A self-management plan can help you work out how well you are and what to do if your asthma gets worse/ better. Research shows that people who follow self-management plans have better control over their asthma. We have examples of a self-management plan for children and adults on our website.

4 Use a peak flow meter

You can learn the patterns of your asthma by using a peak flow meter. A peak flow meter tells you how fast you can blow air out. When your airways are fully open you will get a high reading. When your airways start to get narrow with asthma the reading becomes lower. You can use these readings along with your symptoms to decide when to change your treatment by following your self management plan.

5 Keep active

Being physically active is an important part of being healthy for everyone. It is especially important for people with asthma, although some people are frightened it might bring on an asthma attack. However, by following some simple tips, most people can exercise free of asthma symptoms. We have lots of tips on exercising safely with asthma on our website.

6 Be smokefree

Avoiding cigarette smoke is an important way to help keep your asthma under control. If you are a smoker and want to stop, ask your doctor about smoking cessation or visit Quitline at www.quit.org.nz.

7 Visit your asthma team regularly

A number of people are willing and able to help you look after yourself and your asthma. It is important to build a partnership with your doctor, practice nurse, asthma educator and pharmacist. Following their advice should help you reduce the number
of symptoms you face.

Is your asthma under control? Find out whether your asthma is under control by taking a simple online test recommended by the Asthma Foundation. Completing the Asthma Control TestTM is a way of working out your present level of asthma control. It's been designed for asthma sufferers 12 years of age and older. The test contains five simple questions. It is a good idea to repeat the test at different times of the year. See your GP if your asthma is interfering with your daily activities or worrying you in any other way.

Go to www.asthmacontrol.co.nz

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Issue: Spring 2014