New guidelines say symptom control is key to asthma care

Asthma management should be reassessed according to how well a patient is controlling symptoms, international experts have advised.

The updated guidelines have been issued be the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), which collaborates with the WHO. They move away from the 2002 guideline that recommended treatment is primarily based on the severity of asthma.
GPs should consider asthma treatment as a continuous cycle, with adjustments made depending on how well a patient’s asthma is controlled.

GINA wants the Asthma Control Test to be used to assess this control. The questionnaire can be self-administered by patients. By rating the severity of their symptoms, it is hoped patients can gauge the level of control over their asthma.
If GPs show patients how to use the questionnaire, people can find out if their asthma is uncontrolled or partly controlled. They can then alert their GP that a treatment change is needed.

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