How do you feel about your asthma?

Support to help with difficult feelings around having asthma

Health advice > Understanding asthma

Whether you’re unhappy about having a long-term condition, scared of asthma attacks, or fed up with people not taking your asthma seriously, get support and advice to help you feel more positive.

It’s not unusual for people to feel down about getting a diagnosis of a long-term condition like asthma. But if you notice you’re feeling down and anxious a lot, find out where you can get some extra help and support.

You can also read about support for your emotional health when you have severe asthma.

On this page:

Unhappy about having a long-term condition like asthma

Being told you have a long-term condition like asthma can take some getting used to.

But asthma doesn’t need to take over. The good news is most people only need a preventer inhaler to take every day, and a reliever inhaler for if symptoms flare up.

And if you manage your asthma well, you could even be symptom free.

If you’ve been diagnosed with severe asthma, find out more about severe asthma treatments.


3 simple steps for your asthma

These three simple steps can help you manage your asthma well and cut your risk of an asthma attack.

1. Take your preventer inhaler every day as prescribed
2. Make sure you have an up-to-date asthma action plan
3. See your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year for an asthma review

Concerned my asthma will get worse over time

Asthma can sometimes get worse over time, particularly if you have frequent asthma attacks. But if you’re managing your asthma well and having regular asthma reviews, it’s less likely to be a problem.

Most people can be symptom-free with good treatment and a self-management plan.
And there are lifestyle changes you can make which will also lower your risk of your asthma getting worse, like quitting smoking, keeping a healthy weight, and staying active.

Scared of asthma attacks 

Having an asthma attack can be a very scary experience. Often people think an attack is going to come out of the blue, but mostly there are signs to look out for so you can do something before symptoms build up.

A symptoms calendar can help you keep an eye on things, and your written asthma action plan helps you know what to do if you’re symptoms are getting worse.

Being told you have asthma doesn’t have to mean you will definitely have an asthma attack. There are lots of ways you can manage your asthma to cut your risk.

If you do have an attack, a reliever inhaler (and spacer) can deal with symptoms quickly. Always carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you.

Get clear step-by-step asthma attack advice.


Call 999 for an ambulance if:

You’re having an asthma attack and your symptoms don’t improve after ten puffs of your reliever inhaler, or if you feel worse at any point.

Fed up with people not taking asthma seriously

We know people often feel frustrated with people not taking their asthma seriously, whether this is employers, colleagues, teachers at your child’s school, or even healthcare professionals.

Perhaps they don’t understand your triggers or think you’re exaggerating how things like dust, cigarette smoke, or perfume affect you.

Although asthma is a common condition, it can be serious, and an asthma attack should be considered as a medical emergency – it can be life-threatening.

Over the years I have come across many people who downplay the seriousness of having asthma. What’s helped me is showing friends and colleagues my asthma action plan, and how to help me use my inhaler if I have an asthma attack. This not only helps me explain my asthma and how serious it can be, but also gives me peace of mind that they know what to do if I need help. Ersin, volunteer

Get more tips for dealing with asthma at work, talking to your child’s school about asthma, or helping your partner understand more about the ways asthma affects you.

Worried asthma will stop me getting on with life 

If you’re feeling like asthma’s holding you back, find out how tried and tested medicines and treatments are helping people get on with life without symptoms getting in the way.

Asthma is a very common condition and all sorts of people with asthma are working, getting active, and enjoying relationships.

Find out more about living with asthma

Frustrated because I want to exercise and keep fit 

With the right support and the right medicines, most people with asthma can carry on with the activities they enjoy.
In fact, there’s plenty of evidence to say that keeping fit and staying active can benefit your asthma, whether that’s walking to work, taking up a sport, or doing gardening.
Exercise can trigger symptoms for some people though. If exercise is a trigger for you, this is usually a sign that your asthma is not well controlled, so it’s a good idea to see your GP to review your asthma treatment plan.

I’ve learnt to be kind to myself and my body. Some days it won’t do as well as others and that is OK, I don’t push myself if my triggers are high and instead I make a commitment to try again tomorrow.” – Asthma volunteer

Find out more about exercise and activities with asthma, or staying active with severe asthma

You can get more emotional support here.

You can get advice and support about having asthma by calling a respiratory nurse specialist on our Helpline, 0300 222 5800 (9am-5pm; Monday-Friday). Or you can WhatsApp them on 07378 606 728.


Last reviewed January 2022

Next review due January 2025


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