What is Asthma Control?
In the world of asthma care, there is no permanent cure, so instead we make the goal of achieving “control”. Understanding what exactly this means is a great first step to better managing your child’s asthma. When someone talks about “controlling asthma,” they are simply referring to reducing the symptoms of asthma, including preventing attacks or exacerbations that can result in emergency room visits or even hospitalizations.
I am doctor, but also a mom (of two, with a third on the way!) and being the mom of a child with asthma has caused me to understand asthma management in a different way! As a physician you only get to see a patient every few months and only for a quick visit where you get a history of how everything has been going. Being a parent is a lot of work, having a child with asthma, is even more work as you are monitoring and tracking symptoms daily!
Every child is unique, but for my daughter, her asthma’s lack of control used to mean that every virus resulted in a week of sleepless nights, coughing fits, a lingering cough, and trouble playing for weeks. Now that her asthma is well controlled, she rarely has symptoms, even when she catches a cold! Achieving asthma control is an ongoing process - I’m always working to identify what triggers her and which medication amounts help her sleep better at night and play during the day. This is why I am so passionate about my work at Tueo - I want every parent who has a child with asthma to know that controlling asthma is achievable and feel empowered that if their child’s asthma isn’t well controlled to know what they can do about it!
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Want even more details about the definition of how doctors define asthma control? See the definition below:
Completely controlled asthma means that there are no asthma related symptoms or need for rescue medications. In order for asthma to be considered well-controlled all of these must be true (of note peak flow is not used for many children as it is difficult for them to get consistent results).
1. Asthma symptoms twice a week or less
2. Rescue bronchodilator (such as albuterol) use twice a week or less
3. No nighttime or early morning awakening
4. No limitations on exercise, work, or school
5. Normal or personal best lung function tests (such as peak flow)
While it is important for your child to undergo a formal asthma control assessment by your physician, there are a number of surveys you can take to both prepare your appointment, and track symptoms over time. We recommend the Asthma Control Test, which you can take online here.