Senoir woman with hand on chestMAY 31, 2023, FAIRFAX, VA – Asthma is a chronic disease with no known cure. When it comes to treatment, many healthcare providers focus on symptom management using medications and trigger avoidance. But what do you do if your asthma is not well-controlled? And when is it time to see an asthma specialist?

Allergy & Asthma Network is launching a year-long awareness campaign on the importance of asthma control to improve respiratory health and quality of life. The campaign kicked off May 31 with the publication of a column, “Is Your Asthma Under Control,” in Better Breathing, a special supplement of USA Today. The supplement includes promotion of patient education websites and the Network’s free virtual asthma coaching program.

More than 25 million people, including 6 million children, live with asthma in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 60.1% of adults and 44% of children have uncontrolled asthma. Uncontrolled asthma involves frequent and intense episodes of asthma symptoms and can result in hospital or emergency department visits, and even death. Approximately 11 people die in the United States each day. Most of these deaths are avoidable with proper treatment.

Research shows many asthma patients believe their symptoms are well-controlled but are experiencing symptoms two times or more per week. Many also report limits to everyday activities, such as walking and doing household chairs.

“This underscores an urgent need to reject complacency and raise the bar for asthma control nationwide,” says Lynda Mitchell, interim CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network. “No one should accept poorly controlled asthma as part of their lives. This campaign aims to empower patients to work with their healthcare provider to better control asthma, and to consult an asthma specialist if symptoms worsen.”

What is asthma control?

When asthma is well-controlled, there are minimal symptoms and no limitations of daily activity. People with asthma should be able to do anything someone without asthma can do.

Asthma is not well controlled when people…

  • have asthma symptoms more than two days a week
  • wake up at night due to asthma more than two times per month
  • refill a quick-relief inhaler more than two times per year
  • take a course of oral corticosteroids two or more times per year

Some types of asthma are very hard to control. In addition, approximately 5-10% of people with asthma have severe asthma. Allergy & Asthma Network has developed web-based resources to help educate patients about asthma control, eosinophilic asthma, oral corticosteroids and biologic medications.

  • – Eosinophilic asthma is a subtype of asthma that is often severe. It involves high levels of eosinophils (white blood cells) in the blood, lung tissue and mucus. This can worsen airway inflammation. The website explains how eosinophilic asthma is diagnosed and reviews treatment options.
  • – A short course of oral corticosteroids is sometimes prescribed to treat asthma attacks. These pills can quickly reduce inflammation in the airways. Oral corticosteroids are not a long-term treatment and overuse can lead to significant side effects. This website discusses oral corticosteroid use and when to talk with your doctor about other treatments.
  • – Biologic medications work by targeting cells and pathways to block inflammation before it can start. Biologics can reduce eosinophils in the blood. They can open up the airways and help control breathing. The website details each of the biologic medications available and how they work.

“Asthma is different for everyone – it’s not a one-size-fits-all disease,” Mitchell says. “That’s why it’s important to develop a personalized treatment plan with your doctor. Well-controlled asthma is essential to living a full, active life.”

Asthma coaching can save lives

People with asthma often feel overwhelmed or anxious managing their condition. Coaching and care coordination can help  support better health outcomes. Allergy & Asthma Network offers free asthma coaching through its Not One More Life Trusted Messengers Program.

The program consists of six coaching sessions conducted online via laptop, smartphone or tablet. Patients learn how to manage asthma symptoms, review inhaler technique and medications, and track their progress over time.

Allergy & Asthma Network’s asthma coaches are certified asthma educators with additional licenses as respiratory therapists, physician assistants and nursing. “Asthma coaching is a valuable resource for people with asthma who want to better manage their disease and improve their quality of life,” Mitchell says.