How Asthma Is Classified as Severe Persistent
According to the National Guidelines for managing asthma, severity of asthma is classified as severe persistent according to the following factors:
- Frequency of symptoms (throughout the day)
- Frequency of nighttime awakenings with asthma symptoms (often daily)
- Use of a quick-relief inhaler (several time per day)
- How much asthma interferes with daily activities (extremely limited)
- Peak flow readings (less than 60% of personal best)
- Whether asthma flares require use or oral steroids (2 or more times a year)
Treating Severe Persistent Asthma
Patients with severe persistent asthma are generally treated with a combination of asthma medications, including long-term control medicines (inhaled corticosteroids) that reduce inflammation of the airways to prevent asthma symptoms and asthma attacks, long-acting bronchodilators and a quick-relief medicine (short-acting beta agonist or bronchodilator). This additional medication is used (as needed) to relieve acute symptoms by relaxing tightened muscles around the airways. Severe persistent asthma may additionally be treated with anti-inflammatory medicines known as “leukotriene modifiers." These are taken in pill form and are used in combination with the other medications.
People with asthma may find that their severity of asthma fluctuates over the years. That's the reason why the stepwise approach to treating asthma was developed. As severity fluctuates, so does medication and treatment, with the ultimate goal being to keep asthma under control.
Read more about the other types of asthma and their corresponding treatments.
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"Anti-Inflammatories: Leukotriene Modifiers." Health.USNews.com 12 Dec. 2006. U.S. News & World Report. 12 Dec. 2007. <http://health.usnews.com/usnews/health/allergy/asthma/asthma.treat.meds.inf lammleuk.htm>.
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Peters, Stephen, Jennifer McAllister, and Rodolfo Pascual. "Treatment of Moderate Persistent Asthma in Adolescents and Adults." Patients.UpToDate.com 18 Sept. 2007. UpToDate Patient Information. 12 Dec. 2007 <http://patients.uptodate.com/topic.asp?file=asthma/13610>.