Even if your asthma is under control, you need to see your doctor at least twice a year. Learn how these visits can make a difference.
If you have asthma, you know how important it is to keep your symptoms under control. In fact, from the time of your diagnosis you’ve probably been striving to limit the coughing, breathlessness, and other symptoms that can come with this disease.
For some people, that’s a difficult task. Others have less trouble controlling their symptoms. Either way, it’s important to see your doctor at least twice a year, though some people may need to go more often.
Your asthma checkup
People who are just starting treatment see their doctors often – about every 2 to 6 weeks. After your symptoms are under control your visits will be less frequent.
But your visits should never stop, even if you aren’t having problems. Asthma can change over time, and your doctor may decide to adjust your therapy.
Your doctor will likely ask some of these questions to see how you are doing:
- Have you had an asthma attack since your last visit?
- Are you having asthma symptoms during the night? If so, how often?
- Have you had to restrict your physical activity?
- Have you noticed any new situations that trigger your symptoms?
- Do you have any problems taking your medicine?
- How many puffs of quick-relief medication do you need per week?
Along with these questions, your doctor may want to watch how you use your inhaler to make sure you’re using it correctly. Also, if you are having problems your doctor may suggest allergy testing to pinpoint the problem substance. Asthma symptoms may be triggered by allergens, such as dust mites or animal dander.
With the information from your visit, your doctor can decide if your care plan needs to be adjusted. For example:
- You may need to change your medicine or take a higher dose to control your symptoms.
- If new substances or situations are now triggering your symptoms, your doctor may suggest ways to avoid them.
- Other medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, reflux, stress, or obesity, can affect your asthma. Your doctor may recommend ways to treat them.
- If your symptoms are well controlled, you may be able to take less medicine. In that case, your doctor will probably want to see you more often for a time to monitor how the change is working.
People with asthma do best when they take an active part in their treatment. Seeing your doctor at least twice a year gives you a chance to talk about your concerns and be a partner in your own care.