Thursday, May 05, 2011

It's time to grade your asthma action plan

So I guess if I were to review my asthma action plan and grade myself on how well I adhered to my doctor's recommendations, I'd have to give myself a A+. The main reason is that I've been able to keep my asthma under control without the need for any unscheduled doctor visits since 1997.

My Asthma Action Plan is a bit unique, and perhaps even simpler, than the ones recommended by most asthma experts. Mine does not involve my doctor, and generally incorporates vigilance and common sense.

Myplan pretty much consists of the following:

  • Take my asthma controller medicines daily

  • Avoid my asthma triggers as best I can
  • Monitor my asthma symptoms
  • Play it by ear
I have to do it this way because I know me. I know I will never keep a diary. I know I won't do a peak flow on a regular basis, and even if I do I won't remember my personal best anyway. That's me. I know me. I know how I function. And catering your asthma action plan to YOU is what it's all about.

It's about controlling your asthma so YOU can live a normal life. What I wrote above is what I do to maintain control of my asthma based on what I know about myself. And for the most part, it's worked like a charm for 14 years.

I can do better, as we all can do better. Yet one of the main problems I encounter is I like to live a normal life, and I like to, well, clean my basement for example. And I know that most people, myself included, become rapt in certain project they enjoy and want to work until they get the job done.

Yet as an asthmatic I cannot do that. I know If I get rapt, and I don't pay attention to the early warning signs of asthma, and I just keep on a working on cleaning my basement, I will have trouble breathing for the next couple weeks. It will be a major set back. The job will never get done.

So I have learned that a better method, even though it is hard for me to do, is to limit myself to 30 minutes on any given day involved in any project in my basement. Once thirty minutes is up I have to be done. I have to quit at the 30 minute mark. My wife too has to understand that projects entrusted to me might take a while.

You see, if you have asthma you have to make adjustments in your life. You have to do what you need to do to live a normal life the way you see it.

I ask you, my readers, to review your asthma action plans and grade yourself on how well you're doing. What's that? You don't have an asthma action plan? Well it's time you invent one.

You ideally should work with your doctor, and I have done that in the past. Yet as an adult perhaps you'll find you're better at doing one on my own. After all, YOU know yourself better than anyone.

Do you give yourself an A grade? Keep up the good work. Do you give yourself a B? A C? Perhaps you guys should refocus on self-management and consider identifying a “personal champion” for encouragement and support.

Any F’s? Perhaps you should wisit their doctor to reassess your asthma action plan and determine whether alternate treatment options would be better for controlling YOUR asthma. And don't feel bad if you grade yourself an F, because we all start out there -- I did too.

As you learn about yourself, and your illness, you'll learn, perhaps, how to adjust your asthma action plan to your personality.

To learn how to create an asthma action plan click here.

Download Printable Action Plan by clicking here

(May is Asthma Awareness month, and May 3 is asthma awareness day. For more information about asthma, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Asthma.)

1 comment:

  1. I never bother with an asthma action plan because even if my peek flow is low like in the 50-70% range my O2 saturation is always fine and I can't get people to believe that I can breath. I had one doctor once that actually had the brains to listen to my breathing instead of just looking at a pulse ox. Brilliant right! So since I avoid doctors help anyawy I never thoguth it necessary to follow an asthma action plan.