Taking Action Against Asthma

Young woman in white tank top uses inhalerAsthma is a big issue in the Latino community. According to the Office of Minority Health, of Latino nationalities, the Puerto Rican community has the highest rate of asthma cases, with 2.6 times the asthma rate compared to all Latinos. Latino children are 40 more likely to die from asthma as compared to non-Latinos.

In 2010, approximately 10.6 percent of Latinos 18 had cases of asthma, with over 10 percent having ever been told they had asthma. However, many people have been known to outgrow the symptoms.

While causes for respiratory issues can come from environmental factors, which is often the cause, illnesses like asthma can also be hereditary. It is important to take action and obtain as much education as possible to know what to do in case of emergency, as well as keeping up on preventative care.

Recently, it has been found that after the age of 18 medical care has dropped in young people due to the lack of insurance coverage, and what’s more, Latinos have a high rate of being uninsured. Because of situations such as these, asthma sufferers should be aware of causes and ways to protect themselves from future problems.

Get Help While You Can

While individuals have access to proper health care, there should be an instant need for learning and educating oneself for the proper care moving forward. Building up a relationship with your doctor early will ensure getting the most of visits and consultations. Be sure to tell your doctor everything to make sure your action plan is right for you and your case.

The Action Plan

An asthma action plan tells you how to care for your asthma on a daily basis, as well as what to do if you or your child’s symptoms and attacks act up. In order to minimize long-term affects of asthma, you need to minimize the inflammation of the lungs.

In addition, your plan should tell you what medications to take every day, what should be done in the case of an asthma attack and when you should seek emergency care for your asthma.

So what’s in the action plan that you should take into consideration when treating your asthma?

Treatment goals and personal goals concerning your asthma.
When to take your daily medicines and how to control your inflammation
How to measure your peak expiratory flow, which is the measurement of how fast you can release air from your lungs, using a  peak flow meter. The inexpensive meter is blown in to three times with the best measurement recorded. The higher the number, the better.
What medicine and what actions to take in case of an asthma attack
An asthma diary used to record all of your peak expiratory flow, or PEF, readings along with any triggers that cause symptoms.

In The Zone

You action plan is based on zones of your asthma severity defined by your best peak expiratory flow, or PEF, over a two to three week period of time when you’re under control.

Green: In the green zone you should have no symptoms. You are in the green zone of your action plan if your PEF is at 80 to 100 percent of your best measurement. You should aim to be in the green zone every day.

Yellow: Yellow means caution and that you are at 50 to 79 percent of your best measurement. You may not have any symptoms but your lung function is not at its best. If you do have symptoms, they may be disturbing sleep or get in the way of normal activities. Your action plan should tell you which medicines to take and how much.

Red: Red means stop. If you are in the red zone of your action plan, that means you are at less than 50 percent of your personal best. You may have severe symptoms like coughing or wheezing. You should seek out medical help immediately. Your action plan should tell you which medicines to take while seeking out medical help.