How is asthma severity defined?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Girish D Sharma, MD, FCCP, FAAP; Chief Editor: Kenan Haver, MD  more...
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Asthma severity is defined as "the intensity of the disease process" prior to the initiation of therapy. Defining asthma severity helps in determining the initiation of therapy in a patient who is not on any controller medications. [2]

The severity of asthma is classified as intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent, or severe persistent. This classification is based on the impairment and risk related to disease, which is measured by the following:

  • Frequency and severity of symptoms, including nocturnal symptoms

  • Characteristics of acute episodes

  • Pulmonary function

  • Exacerbations

Features of these categories have been divided into 3 charts to reflect classification in different age groups (0-4 y, 5-11 y, and 12 y and older), according to the 2007 National Asthma Education and Prevention Program guidelines. [2]

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