Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects an estimated 300 million people worldwide. It is characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways, making breathing difficult. While asthma can be managed with medications, it requires ongoing monitoring and management to keep it under control. One useful tool for managing asthma is an asthma diary.
Asthma diaries are daily tracking tools that patients can use to monitor their symptoms and medication use. They usually cover a period of one month and provide a space for daily entries. Asthma diaries help patients and medical professionals identify triggers, understand symptoms, and assess the effectiveness of their medication. When used in conjunction with an asthma action plan, the diary can help patients recognize changes in their symptoms and take appropriate action to manage them.
Asthma diaries are particularly useful in monitoring the use of Preventer and Reliever medication. The Preventer medication is taken one or twice daily to control inflammation in the airways, while the Reliever medication is used to quickly alleviate symptoms during an asthma attack. The diary allows patients to track how often they use the Reliever medication. If they require more than two puffs per week, it can signal that their asthma is not well-controlled, and they may need to seek further medical attention.
Asthma diaries are available in various formats, but they typically include information on how often symptoms occur, how they affect sleep, whether activity makes breathing difficult, and any days missed from work or school due to asthma. Asthma New Zealand provides two types of asthma diaries - one for adults and a simplified version for children/caregivers.
For adults, the diary includes peak flow readings which can be recorded in the morning and evening before using the inhaler. Peak flow readings measure the maximum rate of air flow during exhalation and are an important indicator of asthma control. While the children’s diary does not include peak flow, children from age 5-6 may attempt peak flow and find it useful.
In summary asthma diaries are useful tools for monitoring asthma symptoms and medication use, which can help patients and healthcare professionals manage asthma more effectively.
If you think a symptom diary, asthma action plan or advice with Peak Flow monitors could help either yourself or a patient, simply click here to download one or call us on: 0800 227328.