It's a fact that 1 in 6 New Zealanders have some form of respiratory disease, causing 78,000 hospital admissions per year, 1/3 of which are children. Asthma is literally taking NZ's breath away. Everyone thinks that they have their asthma under control... but given those statistics....do you? What else do we have in the toolbox for you to use to best achieve control of your asthma and ensure that you get the best from your asthma medication?
A peak flow meter may be used to track exacerbation of asthma. A peak flow meter is a portable, easy-to-use device that measures how well your lungs are able to expel air. By blowing hard through a mouthpiece on one end, the peak flow meter can measure the force of air in litres per minute and give you a reading on a built-in numbered scale. If your asthma is getting worse, your peak flow will decrease.
Asthma can be self monitored by using an Asthma Action Plan. You can use the peak flow measurement and/or symptoms to assess your every day status and "take action" agreed between yourself and your doctor depending on what those symptoms or measurements are.
And my last tool to suggest, outside of your medication.... the Asthma Control Test. This is a great tool to tell you whether you control your asthma or your asthma controls you. It is available on www.asthmacontrol.co.nz. You'll find the link on our website.
So are you in control of your asthma? Take the test and find out.
A spacer is a highly underrated device. If you are an asthmatic and do not have a spacer, please get one from your doctor or pharmacy! Here's the two best reasons to use a spacer. Firstly spacers or more specifically the new VHC spacers can increase the available drug for inhalation by up to fivefold compared to the your inhaler alone. Secondly the amount of drug deposited on the back of your throat decreases 100 fold, leading to less side effects such as oral thrush.