Monitoring and tests for good asthma control

Asthma is a chronic (long-term) condition, with no known cure — so the aim of treatment is to manage the symptoms and prevent your asthma worsening as much as possible. This is called having 'good asthma control'.

It's important to have good asthma control 

What is good asthma control?

You have good asthma control when you have all of the following:

  • no asthma symptoms at night and on waking
  • no recent need to use a reliever medicine
  • no limitation in doing your normal activities
  • no days off school or work because of asthma
  • no flare-up of your symptoms or asthma attacks.

Having symptoms that regularly wake you up at night is not a 'normal' part of having asthma. See your doctor if this is happening.

You shouldn't need to use your reliever medicine on more than 2 days per week.

See your doctor if you need to use it more often or if it's not working as well as it usually does. This is a sign that your asthma is not well controlled, or is worsening.

How can I achieve good asthma control?

Get an Asthma Action Plan

If you don't already have one, ask your doctor for a written Asthma Action Plan, with instructions to help you manage your symptoms and recognise worsening asthma.

Your Asthma Action Plan records how to use your asthma medicines when your asthma is under control, and what to do if you have an asthma attack.

Get a regular asthma check-up

Have your asthma regularly checked by your doctor. Make sure your written Asthma Action Plan is reviewed and updated to reflect any changes that are made to your treatment.

If you use peak flow monitoring at home to assess your lung function, take the measurements to your check-up.

It's also important to see your doctor if you develop frequent or unpredictable asthma symptoms, and need to use a reliever medicine on more than 2 days per week.

Use your asthma medicines correctly

Taking your asthma medicines as prescribed and using the correct inhaler technique is essential to good asthma control. Some asthma medicines (such as preventers) need to be taken on a regular, ongoing basis to manage your asthma — even when you are feeling well.

Your doctor or pharmacist can show you how to use your asthma medicines correctly and check your inhaler technique.

Watch our demonstration videos on how to use your:

Read our medicinewise tips for living well with asthma.

Know your asthma symptoms and triggers

Learn to recognise your asthma symptoms and the warning signs of an asthma attack so you can act promptly. You may also be able to prevent some symptoms by avoiding or reducing exposure to your asthma triggers.

Make positive lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes, such as increasing the amount of exercise you do, can help you maintain good asthma control, avoid getting sick, and may even reduce the dose and/or number of medicines you need to take.

Read more about lifestyle changes for asthma.

Find out more

References
  1. Asthma Australia (2013). Exercise-induced asthma. [online] (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  2. Asthma Australia (2013). Taking control of your asthma. [online] (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011). Asthma in Australia 2011: with a focus chapter on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Cat. no. ACM 22.). [online] Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  4. Department of Health and Ageing & National Asthma Council Australia (2004). Asthma and lung function tests: an information paper for health professionals. [full text] Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing. (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  5. Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) (2011). Guidelines and reports. [full text] (Accessed 10 April 2014).
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  8. National Asthma Council Australia (2014). Peak flow chart. [online] (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  9. National Asthma Council Australia (2014). Asthma management handbook 2014. [online] Melbourne: National Asthma Council Australia. (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  10. National Health Service (2010). Asthma in children. [online] London: National Health Service (NHS). (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  11. National Health Service (2010). Diagnosing asthma. [online] London: National Health Service (NHS). (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  12. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2011). Omalizumab for severe persistent allergic asthma. [online] London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  13. Rossi, S. Ed. (2014). Australian Medicines Handbook. [online] Adelaide: Australian Medicines Handbook. (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  14. Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (2013). Fact sheet: asthma. [online] Melbourne: Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  15. Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (2013). Fact sheet: asthma — use of spacers. [online] Melbourne: Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  16. Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (2013). Fact sheet: bronchiolitis. [online] Melbourne: Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  17. Sweetman S, ed. Martindale: The complete drug reference. [online] Thomson Micromedex, London: Pharmaceutical Press. (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  18. The Asthma Foundation of NSW (2006). Healthy pregnancy for women with asthma: an information paper for health professionals. [full text] Sydney: The Asthma Foundation of NSW. (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  19. Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd. (2014). Therapeutic guidelines complete 2014: asthma (eTG42). [online] (Accessed 10 April 2014).

The relevant consumer medicine information (CMI) and product information (PI) have been consulted for every medicine discussed.

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