Medical providers must be armed with the knowledge and skills to correctly diagnose, treat and teach their patients about how to manage their asthma. The six key messages from the 2007 Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma can help you identify the most critical parts about caring for your asthma patients.
Inhaled Corticosteroids: Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are the most effective medications for long-term management of persistent asthma, and should be utilized by patients and clinicians as is recommended in the guidelines for control of asthma.
Check Asthma Severity: At diagnosis, all patients should have an initial severity assessment based on measures of current impairment and future risk in order to determine type and level of initial therapy needed.
Asthma Action Plans: All people who have asthma should receive a written asthma action plan to guide their self-management efforts.
Check Asthma Control: At planned follow-up visits, asthma patients should review level of control with their health care provider based on multiple measures of current impairment and future risk in order to guide clinician decisions to either maintain or adjust therapy.
Follow-up Visits: Patients who have asthma should be scheduled for planned follow-up visits at periodic intervals in order to assess their asthma control and modify treatment, if needed.
Environmental Control: Clinicians should review each patient’s exposure to allergens and irritants and provide a multipronged strategy to reduce exposure to those allergens and irritants to which a patient is sensitive and exposed, i.e., that make the patient’s asthma worse.