Step 6: Determine your goals and expectations
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Having asthma does not mean you have to stop living a normal life. With recent advances in treatment, experts know enough about asthma that almost any patient's condition can be brought under control. However, before this can happen, you need to have a good working relationship with a doctor who is familiar with current treatment guidelines, and you need to have a solid understanding of your treatment plan. You also need to set high expectations for your care and understand how to achieve them.

Almost anyone with asthma should be able to:

  • Prevent most asthma episodes (asthma attacks), including severe occurrences of wheezing, coughing, breathing difficulties, and chest tightness
  • Sleep at night without being wakened by these symptoms
  • Prevent all or most trips to the hospital
  • Prevent missed work or school because of asthma symptoms
  • Exercise normally like anyone else
  • Find an asthma treatment plan that has minimal side effects, and that you and your family are satisfied with

People with asthma have even gone on to become Olympic gold medal athletes, showing that the condition need not restrict people from reaching their goals.

Here are some questions to help you fine-tune your goals. Look at these questions and then tell your doctor what you hope to accomplish. Your doctor will work with you to determine an effective treatment plan.

  • How does asthma interfere with your life? (e.g., inability to sleep through the night or play sports)
  • What do you want to do that you currently can't because of asthma?
  • What worries you most about your asthma?
  • How severe do you think your asthma is?
  • How much danger do you feel you are in from asthma?

Learn More

If you want more help on goal-setting, the exercise on writing your asthma story will give you more questions to think about.

References

National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report: guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma update on selected topics -- 2002. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2002 Nov;110(5 pt 2):S141-219.

National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report 2: guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; 1997 Jul. NIH Publications 97-4051.

Williams SG, Schmidt DK, Redd SC, Storms W. Key clinical activities for quality asthma care: recommendations of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2003 Mar 28;52(RR-6):1-8.

 

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Review Date: 5/16/2007

Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.


The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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