If you have asthma, don't settle for anything less than total control of your disease.
That's the advice of Dr. Kenneth Chapman, head of The Asthma Centre at Toronto Western Hospital. "Most Canadians with asthma are suffering needless disability," he says. "They are the walking wounded."
Controlling asthma can not only provide a better quality of life but also prevent fatalities. A majority of the 500 or so asthma-related deaths that occur each year in Canada could be avoided if people sought better control of their wheezing and coughing, says Chapman.
One problem, he says, is that many asthma patients aren't assertive enough in taking responsibility for their health. "The vast majority of people with asthma could enjoy a life almost without symptoms if they got appropriate treatment," he says.
Chapman maintains that people should not have to miss work or school because of asthma, and they should not wake up coughing more than once or twice a month. And if they use their rescue puffer medications more than three times a week, their disease isn't being optimally controlled, he says.
Slightly more adult women than men suffer from asthma -- 9.1 per cent versus 7.9 per cent.
If you want to check your asthma status, take The 30-Second Asthma Test at asthmaincanada.com.