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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is there a test that shows overuse of Ventolin?

The following is an asthma question I was asked recently.

Your Question: What happens if I use my inhaler too much? Is there a test a doctor can use to determine if I used my inhaler too much? After my doctor showed me my x-ray and said my lungs were swollen, he said I won't last long if I don't take care of myself. I've been to the ER quite a bit recently. Is there a test so he knows I use my inhaler a lot?

My humble answer: When I was a kid I used to worry that my doctors or RTs or nurses would know I was over using my rescue inhaler by some lab test or x-ray or something. Yet the truth is there is no such test. The only way they can tell if you abuse your inhaler is if you tell them, or if your doctor monitors your prescription drug use. Of course, a wise doctor WILL monitor your prescription drug usage.

Another way to know you've been using your inhaler too much is a medical 6th sense. Sometimes we can just tell by interviewing you. Sometimes the fact you have an empty inhaler in your hand is sign enough that you are using it too much. A 6th sense quite often comes in handy because quite often asthmatics are too embarassed to be honest about abusing their rescue medicine.

That said, if you are using your rescue inhaler too often, or a lot, that may be a sign that you do not have good control of your asthma. Thanks to modern wisdom and medicine, asthma can be prevented. If you find a good asthma doctor, work with him on finding a good medicine regime, and you are compliant with your medicines (take them as prescribed), you shouldn't need your rescue inhaler. In this way, asthma can be controlled and prevented. I bet this is what your doctor was referring to.

So, if you want to learn more about how you can gain control of your asthma, check out
this post.

It's also important you be a perfect asthmatic. Check out
this link on how to become a better asthmatic.

Good luck

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