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Rethink your control

Rethink your…control

What does control over your asthma mean to you? GSK, Global Medical Expert and respiratory physician Dr Neil Martin says challenging your management of your condition is an important step to taking control and living the life you want.

Dr Neil Martin isn’t an individual who likes boundaries and throughout his career, he strives to explore every opportunity to help patients understand their individual condition and in so doing, help them define how their asthma impacts their lives.

“Most people are okay with their asthma control; I don’t think that’s an acceptable level to be,” he says.

“We want to support healthcare professionals to achieve the best for patients and empower patients to understand when their treatment or their control may be suboptimal.”

But, he says that all too frequently he sees the limitations many asthma sufferers of all severities impose upon themselves to try to keep their asthma under control.

If you tend to avoid triggers such as exercise, allergens or stressful situations then you may need to review how you control your asthma. But the challenge is, you may not even realise you’re imposing these restrictions on your daily life.

Dr Martin explains that these types of behaviour are often habits that have been ingrained from childhood, or self-imposed for so long that it has become ‘normal’. In fact, for many people who describe their asthma as ‘fine’, it isn’t actually as well controlled as they believe it to be.

To identify these habits, Dr Martin says it’s important that you actively engage in tests with your healthcare provider that regularly measure your perception of control and identify how your asthma impacts you.

In the short film below, find out how your healthcare provider can assess your asthma using objective tests, like the Asthma Control Test (ACT), to give you the best chance of getting the most suitable treatment.

Ultimately, he says, management should be effective enough for the patient to feel like they don’t have asthma.

NP-GBL-ASU-VID-190001 Date of Preparation: April 2019 

Despite access to effective therapies, progress to control asthma has slowed during the last 10 to 15 years.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enhance your asthma control. Your healthcare professional wants to get the best outcomes for you, Dr Martin says.

And while it may feel unsettling to change or adjust your treatment, the variable nature of asthma makes having a catalogue of management strategies essential in coping with the condition from day-to-day.

“We need to always be mindful that we want to achieve this total control of asthma,” says Dr Martin.

“By that we mean getting to a point where you don’t need to use reliever medication, you’re not having symptoms at night which may disturb your sleep, you don’t have to adjust your activity levels because of your asthma and you don’t have asthma attacks,” he says.

In the short film below, Dr Martin talks about the confidence that people require to adapt treatment to everyday life rather than the other way around. 

NP-GBL-ASU-VID-190002 Date of Preparation: April 2019 

To successfully take control of your asthma, it’s important to actively engage with regular assessment tests and work with healthcare professionals to get the right care for you.

“We rely very much on patients to let us know when their asthma control isn’t as good as it should be,” Dr Martin explains.

Dr Martin says: “I’m willing to push for the best control we can achieve. In some people that means referral to a specialist so we can really concentrate on getting the right treatment and the best outcomes.”

Dr Martin underlines his point with an example of severe forms of asthma, which are more difficult to control with standard treatments.

He explains: “There is consensus amongst respiratory specialists that for the average uncontrolled asthma patient, it can take many years before they are seen by a specialist. They get stuck in primary and secondary care and we need to find a way to reduce the referral time.

We want to see these patients quicker and getting the right treatment to the right patient is something that all HCPs want to achieve.” But the message is the same for all severities of asthma. Rethink your control and have an honest conversation with your healthcare provider, to help you live every breath.  

Take the first step in taking control of your asthma by completing the Asthma Control Test and discussing your results with your healthcare professional.

NP-GB-ASU-WCNT-190001 Date of Preparation: February 2019 

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