Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Asthma - be in control

I run an asthma clinic in our local surgery every couple of weeks, where I review all the asthmatic patients to make sure they are well controlled and to make changes to their medication if needed. Pharmacists writing prescriptions? Yes - but that's a whole different post!

A young lady came to the clinic about a month ago with really poor asthma control. She had ordered 30 reliever inhaler in the previous 12 months!!! Well controlled asthmatics may go through two to four of these in a year. Her asthma control worried me and were affecting her life. She hadn't participated in sport for months and dared not leave the house without an inhaler.

This is clearly not a good situation to be in and indeed there is no need for it. We now accept that a well controlled asthmatic should be able to live virtually with no symptoms of their asthma if they are well controlled with their medication.
Asthma UK does a fantastic job of promoting the health and welbeing of the 5.4 million asthmatics living in the UK.
They recommend asthmatics assess their control with three simple questions. In the last month:
  1. Have you had difficulty sleeping because of your asthma symptoms (including cough)?
  2. Have you had your usual asthma symptoms during the day (cough, wheeze, chest tightness or breathlessness)?
  3. Has your asthma interfered with your usual activities - eg housework, work, school etc?
If you've answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, it may be that your asthma is not as well controlled as it could be. It's time to make an appointment for a check up.

So back to the young lady in my asthma clinic. I decided to start her on a new preventer inhaler, trained her to use it properly with  the help of a simple little gadget which I love called the In Check Dial. Two weeks after our initial meeting, she came back to the clinic a changed person. She was delighted with her asthma control, had only used her reliever inhaler twice since her first visit and has played hockey for the first time in months.

A good result! 


  1. An excellent blog. A personal example brings the message home so much more vividly. Mxx

  2. Nice to know you can have such a positive effect on someone's life Sally. Well done.