The respiratory condition known as asthma affects more than 25 million people in the United States, with 1 out of every 13 suffering from the condition. This number accounts for nearly 8% of adults and 8.4% of children. Incidents of Asthma in the US have been increasing since the 1980s across all genders, races, ages, and classes. Throughout this time, a significant amount of research has been put into discovering how patients and doctors can best coordinate to get the most effective treatment, and therefore control, of this condition.
The Origins of Asthma and The Reason Its On The Rise
Asthma has always been with us, but changing lifestyles and environmental conditions may play a role in the steady rise we’ve seen since the 1970s. Asthma is best described as a respiratory condition wherein environmental and other triggers can lead to the swelling of the airway tissues and the production of music that makes breathing difficult. For some, asthma is merely a mild annoyance, while for others, it can be life-threatening. The common signs of asthma include:
- Blockage of the Airway – This is typified by tightness in the chest
- Inflammation – Red, inflamed bronchial tubes that can potentially damage your lungs
- Irritable Airway – High reactivity to airborne pollutants
- Coughing – Especially when prevalent in the morning or evening
- Tight Chest – Pain, tightness, and pressure in the chest are common complaints
- Sleeping Concerns – Breathing issues can make sleeping difficult
There’s a lot your physician can do to help you manage these symptoms and reduce the frequency of your attacks. Communicating with them is one of the best ways to ensure that your condition is getting the treatment it needs to be under control. Some of the results of clear communication with your physician include:
- Increased satisfaction with the results of your care
- Better knowledge of your disease and the treatments used
- Increased ability to manage your asthma and monitor its frequency
Accomplishing this requires both parties to be actively involved in communicating your concerns. If your physician doesn’t seem receptive to an active patient, it may be worth considering other options for your care.
How To Effectively Communicate With Your Physician
Some effective steps you can take to improve your ability to communicate with your physician. The
Institute For Healthcare Improvement compiled a list of the three most effective questions patients can ask when beginning their care. These questions are:
- What Is My Largest Asthma Related Concern Right Now?
- What Are My Next Steps To Manage My Asthma?
- Why Are These Steps Important To See Results?
In addition to these three questions, you should also be prepared to be your own advocate. An engaged and curious patient is one who will see the best results from the care being offered. This inquisitiveness also ensures you know what your medication can do for you, how to avoid triggering an episode, and what signs tell you it’s time to get in to see your provider for an updated diagnosis.