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Step 6: Determine your goals and expectations

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Having asthma does not mean you have to stop living a normal life. With recent advances in treatment, asthma can almost always be brought under control. To make this happen you need:

  • A doctor who knows about the newest and best asthma treatments, knows about you and your asthma, and is available when you need help.
  • A solid understanding of your treatment plan and to follow this plan.
  • High expectations for your care and understand how to treat them.

Almost anyone with asthma should be able to:

  • Prevent most asthma episodes (asthma attacks), including severe occurrences of wheezing, coughing, breathing difficulties, and chest tightness
  • Sleep at night without being awakened by these symptoms
  • Prevent all or most trips to the hospital
  • Prevent missed work or school because of asthma symptoms
  • Exercise normally like anyone else
  • Find an asthma treatment plan that has minimal side effects, and that you and your family are satisfied with

People with asthma have even gone on to become Olympic gold medal athletes, showing that the condition need not keep people from reaching their goals.

Here are some questions to help you fine-tune your goals. Look at these questions and then tell your doctor what you hope to accomplish. Your doctor will work with you to determine an effective treatment plan.

  • How does asthma interfere with your life (such as inability to sleep through the night or play sports)?
  • What do you want to do that you currently can't because of asthma?
  • What worries you most about your asthma?
  • How severe do you think your asthma is?
  • How much danger do you feel you are in from asthma?

If you want more help on goal-setting, the exercise on writing your asthma story will give you more questions to think about.

References

National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Rockville, MD. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2007. NIH publications 08-4051.

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