Kate is our respiratory specialist nurse, and Dr Bimal Raja and Dr Haythem Naseef both have an interest in respiratory medicine.
To minimise the risk of complications of asthma, it is advisable to have regular reviews. You will either need to be seen by Kate, Barbara, Mariana or complete our online questionnaire to see if you need to come in.
If your asthma is stable you may be able to see Mariana (one of our HCAs and part of our practice nursing team) in her HCA-led clinic which she runs under the supervision of a GP and our Respiratory Nurse, Kate Fairbairn. If you do see Mariana you will not need to see a GP, Kate or Barbara as well for your asthma annual review unless Mariana advises you, or you have specific concerns with your medication or symptoms that the she cannot address. Should you have any concerns or require help for your asthma outside of your annual review, you should continue to see Kate or the GP as normal.
All first appointments post diagnosis or appointments for children are always with Kate.
Are you happy with your inhaler technique?
If you are not, did you know there is an online demonstration on the Asthma UK website or you will have the opportunity to go over this at your annual review.
If your symptoms are deteriorating or you have any concerns, please make an appointment to the respiratory nurse or a Doctor as well.
- In the last month, have you had any difficulty sleeping because of your asthma symptoms (including cough)?
- In the last month, have you had your usual asthma symptoms during the day? (cough, wheeze, chest tightness or breathlessness)?
- In the last month has your asthma interfered with your usual activities (e.g. housework, work, school etc)?
Have you ever smoked?
Do you smoke now?
If 'Yes' how many do you smoke each day?
If 'No' when did you quit?
There are plenty of options available to help you quit. Is this something you would like us to contact you about?
You can find information and guidance on the Asthma UK website. Some further information about why it’s important to have your annual review and how to make the most of this appointment is taken from their website below.
Why it's worth going to your asthma review
An asthma review is a great opportunity to make sure you're getting the right treatment for your asthma. It could help you keep free of symptoms.
This is your chance to ask questions about anything that's worrying you. For example, you can ask about any triggers or symptoms you're noticing. And you can check that you're using your inhaler correctly.
Even if you're feeling well with your asthma go to your review. It's a chance to make sure your asthma stays well, so you can carry on with doing the things you enjoy. It could be that you'll be able to cut down your asthma medicines.
At your asthma review you can:
- review your asthma medicines to make sure they're still working well for you
- have tests like spirometry and peak flow to see how well your lungs are working
- talk through any symptoms bothering you or triggers you've noticed
- talk to your GP or asthma nurse about cutting down your asthma medicines (if you've had no symptoms and haven't needed your reliever inhaler for three months)
- check you're taking your inhaler in the right way so the medicine ends up in your lungs where it's needed
- update your written asthma action plan
- ask about other things that might help your asthma such as stop smoking support and starting to exercise.
How to make the best of your asthma review
Before You Go
Write down any questions you want to ask. For example:
- Am I on the right dose of medicine?
- Is this the best inhaler for me?
- How can I cope with triggers?
- What do I do if symptoms get worse?
- How can I get into a good routine with my asthma medicines?
- Can I get stop smoking support?
- Keep a note of any symptoms
- Every day, make a note of how you feel, and whether you've noticed any triggers. Write down whether or not you've taken your medicines as prescribed.
You can take this record along to your appointment. It will help your GP or asthma nurse get a clearer idea of how your asthma's been.
Write down anything you think might be a symptom, even if you're not sure. You'll be able to talk about whether it's anything to do with your asthma or not, and what you can do about it.
Try recording symptoms on your phone
When you have symptoms, take a video of yourself on your phone. Or you could ask someone else to film you. If you don't have symptoms on the day of your appointment, having a video can help. Showing your GP or nurse a video tells them what your symptoms have been like straight away. It means you don't have to try describing them.
Take along all your inhalers and spacers
Your GP or asthma nurse can check your inhaler technique. Even a small tweak to the way you take your inhalers can make a big difference to how much asthma medicine is getting to your lungs.
At Your Appointment
Be open about anything that could be making your asthma worse. For example, if you keep forgetting to take your inhaler, or don't take it because you're worried about side effects, talk about it to your GP or asthma nurse. They can find ways to support you.
It helps your GP to know if you smoke, so be honest. Smoking can make your asthma worse, and stop your asthma medicines working so well.
Ask your GP or asthma nurse how you can make some changes to help your health. They can help you with quitting smoking. They can also give you advice about weight loss. It's also good to be open about any complementary therapies you've tried. Sometimes complementary medicines can interfere with your asthma treatment, so it's really useful for your GP or asthma nurse to know about it.
This is your chance to get information about your asthma and the best way to look after it, so ask as many questions as you need to.
Don't be afraid to ask your GP or asthma nurse to repeat anything you don't understand.
MAKE SURE YOU SEE YOUR GP OR ASTHMA NURSE ABOUT YOUR ASTHMA
- Within 24 hours if asthma symptoms have been getting worse, you need to use your reliever inhaler three or more times a week, or you've had an asthma attack
- Within two working days if you've had to go to hospital with an asthma attack
- Within four to eight weeks if your prescription has changed
- After 12 weeks if you've had no symptoms. You should be on the lowest dose of medicine needed to keep you free of symptoms. Depending on your triggers and the pattern of your symptoms, you and your GP or asthma nurse can talk about keeping you on the same dose of medicines or reducing your dose
- If you have seasonal triggers like hay fever. Go the month before your hay fever usually starts. Managing hay fever symptoms is an important way of managing your asthma. Your GP or asthma nurse may also increase your asthma treatment beforehand to provide extra protection
- If you want to talk about having a flu jab in the autumn