As a physician, I’ve seen a number of patients who have struggled to effectively manage their asthma. Often, despite trying many different asthma management techniques – from medication to avoiding triggers – patients have told me they were still experiencing asthma symptoms on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, this is not uncommon. In fact, according to a recent survey funded and developed by GSK, nearly three in four (74%) uncontrolled asthma patients still experience symptoms multiple times a week.
The survey included 1,016 adults with asthma – and, very importantly, each of them had uncontrolled asthma, as measured by the Asthma Control Test (ACT). This is significant because 67% of these patients reported that their asthma was “under control” – when in fact, according to the ACT standard, it was not.
This disconnect suggests asthma patients may have a false sense of confidence when it comes to managing their asthma.
The first step toward effective asthma management is understanding the reality of asthma symptoms, the goals of therapy and the distinction between simply coping versus controlling asthma. Yet only one in two (50%) uncontrolled asthma patients report having a clear understanding of their illness. This tells us just how important it is for physicians to engage patients in a direct and detailed conversation about symptoms, management, treatment and goals.
Asthma can have a significant physical and emotional impact for patients, making proper management all the more important. By better understanding how to control the condition, patients can better participate in their care, and improve their asthma management and its effect on their everyday lives.
One step patients can take right now is to visit asthma.com to take the Asthma Control Test, and assess how well their symptoms are managed. Then, discuss those results with a doctor – so that together, patient and physician can identify strategies to help ensure a misperception of “control” isn’t keeping them from a better quality of life.