Asthma treatment is a combination of effort by you and your doctor to help you reach your goals. Asthma treatment does not just happen at your doctor's office. People with asthma work daily to monitor and control their asthma. Adjustments in your life can improve how you feel. Your doctor will work together with you to ensure that your asthma treatment matches your asthma classification.

How Asthma Treatment Helps

Successful treatment of asthma:

  • reduces inflammation and tightening of your airways to ease or prevent symptoms
  • identifies when symptoms are becoming worse and treats symptoms early to prevent a flare-up
  • slows down or prevents the progression of damage to your airways from uncontrolled asthma
  • helps you to maintain a full and active life

Treatment is specific for each person and varies as symptoms, test results, and exam findings change.

Asthma Treatment Takes Teamwork

Treating asthma involves an ongoing relationship between you and your doctor. You need to feel comfortable asking questions, voicing concerns, and talking about how you feel. To keep your asthma under control, you must stick with your asthma treatment plan. Only you can make this happen.

The Role of Your Asthma Action Plan

You and your doctor should write your Asthma Action Plan together. This plan should outline how and when to take your medicines and how to manage triggers and deal with asthma attacks.

You and your doctor will need to update your Asthma Action Plan from time to time, so bring it with you on every doctor visit. This plan can save your life in an emergency. Make sure to keep copies handy for both yourself and loved ones. Post one in your home, and keep copies in your car, at work or school, and in your pocketbook or briefcase.

Asthma Treatment Goals

There are three overall goals of treatment:

  • reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks
  • control asthma so you can enjoy life
  • prevent or reduce the long term damage that uncontrolled asthma can cause to the lungs

Everyone with asthma has their own goals or vision of how they want to feel. Look at your specific goals. Think about what areas in your life you would like to see changed or improved. Here are some common asthma treatment goals:

  • maintain the best lung function possible
  • lead a fully active and comfortable life
  • prevent or reduce ongoing and difficult symptoms
  • keep asthma symptoms from getting in the way of school or work
  • have fewer emergency room visits and hospital stays due to asthma attacks
  • use the best medicines for control and relief with few or no uncomfortable side effects
  • rest all night without being awakened by asthma symptoms
  • be satisfied with asthma care and treatment

Written by Karen Serrano, MD

Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Reviewed by Lisa V. Suffian, MD

Instructor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine at Saint Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine

Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Saint Louis University

Board certified in Allergy and Immunology

Last updated June 2008