If you live with asthma, you’re well aware of the impact that it has on your life. If your asthma isn’t as well managed as you’d like, you probably wish things were different.
Asthma education can make this difference.
The unknown may feel intimidating, but enriching your asthma knowledge empowers you to take control of your condition. It can help in many ways, like motivating you to keep up with proper medication adherence.
Increasing your own knowledge also enables you to educate family, friends, and other members of your support system.
To meet the need for better asthma education resources, the American Lung Association created the “Breathe Well, Live Well” self-management program for adults with asthma.
In honor of Asthma Awareness Month, Healthline asked experts from the American Lung Association, including Barbara Kaplan and Jasmine Sturdivant, both leaders of the organization’s Asthma Programs, more about this program. Here’s what they had to say.
In 2002, the American Lung Association identified a gap in nationally available asthma self-management education (SME) programs for adults. So much of the focus of asthma education was directed at children, but nothing was available for adults.
Through a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Lung Association identified several effective adult asthma education programs.
The Lung Association brought together experts in asthma and the group selected the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) adult asthma management program to adapt for community-based implementation. The Lung Association worked with researchers at UAB to adapt the program and pilot tested Breathe Well, Live Well in 2005.
Results from the pilot showed that Breathe Well, Live Well was effective in increasing knowledge and confidence in managing asthma, and increased the frequency of asthma self-management practices.
In addition, the program was well-received among participants and facilitators.
Results from the clinic-based intervention showed that a comprehensive effort to improve self-management practices of adults with asthma can substantially improve adherence to treatments.
Two significant measures that showed improvements were a decrease in the severity of asthma symptoms and a decrease in the frequency of respiratory problems.
The Lung Association is working to expand Breathe Well, Live Well to young adults living with asthma.
We are accomplishing this through our new initiative, Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) Students and Asthma. This project focuses on delivering the Breathe Well, Live Well program to students who attend HBCUs.
The transition from pediatric to adult healthcare services can also be a challenge for some young adults with asthma as they are typically moving away from their established [doctor] and/or asthma specialist.
For College Students of Color, the risk of poor asthma control is multiplied by the racial health disparities seen in asthma outcomes.
However, there are currently no nationwide evidence-based asthma management programs for college students and the university healthcare professionals who serve them and through this project, we are working to fill this gap.
The project will partner with six HBCUs to deliver the Breathe Well, Live Well program to students who have asthma.
Healthcare professionals at university health centers tend to play an integral role in students’ regular healthcare. By working with the university healthcare [professionals], we can help college students maintain and regain control of their asthma during this transitional period in their lives.
In addition to Breathe Well, Live Well, there are other SME resources designed to increase your asthma knowledge.
- The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has an Asthma Care for Adults education program that includes an interactive curriculum.
- The CDC offers a set of strategies called
EXHALE. These strategies work together to improve asthma control.
- CHEST Foundation offers a downloadable education guide for people living with asthma.
Additional resources are also available to help with asthma care and knowledge, some of which include:
- The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) offers a find an allergist tool that enables you to search for allergists/immunologists in your area.
- Visit the CDC’s
Agencies Working on Asthmato learn more about how other government departments are working toward improving the lives of Americans living with asthma.
- The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers handouts, including how to use certain medications and how to reduce allergens in your home via their
Asthma Resources for Caregivers and Familiescenter.
Asthma education provides you with the information you need to protect your lung health. The Breathe Well, Live Well program is a comprehensive resource for adult asthma SME.
Learning more about your condition leads to many benefits, including better self-care habits like medication adherence. Asthma education is also linked to fewer emergency department visits and hospital stays.
It’s worth taking the time to explore asthma education. Increasing your knowledge is an effective way to take control of your asthma care.