It may seem simple: breathe in, breathe out. But for the 25 million Americans who have asthma, inhaling and exhaling can be like breathing through a straw. Asthma is a common, chronic disease causing inflammation of the airways. In the United States, asthma is responsible for nine deaths each day and costs the health care system $56 billion every year. Asthma is more common and severe among African American, Puerto Rican and Native American children.
There is no cure for asthma. But with proper treatment, asthma can be controlled. Each May, people across the globe commemorate World Asthma Day and Asthma Awareness Month to spread the message that it’s time to control asthma.
FHI 360 recently worked with the U.S. National Institutes of Health to implement the National Asthma Control Initiative, a program that empowers health care providers and patients to follow the latest science-based asthma care guidelines. At the heart of the guidelines are six key actions to help keep asthma under control. If you have asthma, it’s time to:
- Assess asthma severity at doctor visits to determine what treatment to start to get your asthma under control
- Use inhaled corticosteroids; your doctor will help you choose the best treatment
- Use a written action plan to highlight what to do daily to prevent attacks and how to handle symptoms or asthma attacks
- Track your asthma control and share your level of control with your doctor so he or she can adjust your medication
- Schedule follow-up doctor appointments at least every six months
- Avoid environmental exposures such as dust, pollen or chemicals that make your asthma worse
Uncontrolled asthma affects all of us — from missed work and school days to the harm it causes our family and friends. This year, it’s time to control asthma.
Read more about FHI 360’s work with chronic and noncommunicable diseases in the United States.