Over 25 million Americans, including 7 million children, suffer from asthma. This May, the American Lung Association encourages those living with asthma as well as their caregivers to learn to better recognize asthma symptoms. Doing so will improve school and work performance and put them on the road to better health.
“Asthma is a common disease –affecting 1 in 12 Americans – and is associated with a number of misconceptions,” Barbara Kaplan, M.P.H., C.H.E.S., American Lung Association Director, Asthma Education, said in a press statement. “Take for example the myth that children will eventually outgrow their disease. We need there to be greater awareness that asthma is a disease that is episodic, meaning that symptoms may improve over time, but it’s a disease that can last a lifetime.”
Fortunately, patients who take simple steps will achieve better health and greater peace of mind. These three steps have been provided by the American Lung Association:
- Establish a relationship with a health care provider. The key to managing asthma requires working with a qualified health care professional. For some, the first step may be obtaining proper health care coverage. At best, it is recommended that those living with asthma should see their health care provider at least once a year. Those with poorly controlled asthma should work with their health care provider to schedule follow-up visits more frequently. If you currently do not have health insurance, the American Lung Association can assist you through the Affordable Care Act.
- Know the Basics of Asthma. It’s important for people with asthma to learn the basics of asthma and the steps for daily self-management. Being able to recognize signs and symptoms, and creating asthma-friendly environments where people live, work, go to school and play can reduce the severity of an asthma flare-up and even help avoid a visit to the emergency room.
- Have an Asthma Action Plan. An Asthma Action Plan is an individualized worksheet that shows people with asthma the steps to take to prevent their asthma from getting worse.
Struggling with asthma symptoms without proper treatment can result in irreversible lung damage; proper health coverage is vital for those living with this chronic disease.