Which characteristics of asthma are required to diagnose severe asthma?

Updated: Nov 20, 2020
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Patients with asthma of any level of severity may have mild, moderate, or severe exacerbations. Some patients with intermittent asthma have severe and life-threatening exacerbations separated by episodes with almost normal lung function and minimal symptoms; however, they are likely to have other evidence of increased bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR; exercise or challenge testing) due to ongoing inflammation.

An important point to remember is that the presence of one severe feature is sufficient to diagnose severe persistent asthma. Also, the characteristics in this classification system are general and may overlap because asthma severity varies widely. A patient’s classification may change over time.

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