Getting a diagnosis of asthma can be scary and intimidating. But with a little understanding and the right treatment plan, you can learn to control your asthma and keep it from slowing you down.
Susan: I'm a singer and an accordion player, and I've had asthma for about three years.
Erika: I was first diagnosed with asthma in 2004.
Susan: There was a night when I couldn't breathe when I was sleeping.
Erika: I was really out of breath all the time, short of breath, and I finally made a decision to go to the doctor and see what was going on.
Ben: And he says, "You have asthma," and I said, "What?"
Susan: Well, what do I do?
Catherine: Once you have a diagnosis, there's treatment.
Dr. Greenspan: I think it's really important that you be managed by a specialist, so a pulmonary doctor, who really specializes in asthma.
Catherine: Part of the treatment will be an action plan.
Dr. Greenspan: Number 1: medical. Having the right doctor. Taking the right medications. Taking those medications properly.
Dr. Greenspan: Number 2: exercise. Vigorous aerobic exercise. Strength training. Breathing re-training. Flexibility exercises.
Catherine: Understand your symptoms, and according to your symptoms, know exactly what to do.
Dr. Greenspan: Number 3: nutrition. Being the right weight, not being overweight, not being underweight.
Dr. Greenspan: Number 4: stress management. Relaxation training. Trying to calm down your nervous system.
Dr. Greenspan: Number 5: prevention of infection.
Erika: It is very manageable. I find that it's not a huge upset in my life.
Vanessa: I mean, I grew up using a peak flow meter, and my doctor always had me... I had a chart where I had to fill out... I think I did it a couple times a day.
Catherine: A peak flow meter is a device that measures the forced breath that you breathe out in a second.
Vanessa: And I'd have to check to see where my breathing levels were.
Catherine: Are they 80% or better of predicted, which is the green zone.
Vanessa: You know, if I was in that range it was good.
Catherine: Less than 80%, the yellow zone. 50% means you're in the red zone.
Kouryou: Know your limits. Don't try to be Superman. But don't let it hold you back.
Susan: Everything's going to be fine. Just keep breathing.
Medical Reviewers:William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Review Date:01-19-2016