By reviewing the table below, you can classify your asthma severity based on NHLBI guidelines as either:
Your asthma severity is based upon the criteria described below. For example, if you are waking up two nights per month with cough or feeling short of breath, your asthma is in the intermittent asthma severity classification. If have symptoms two days per week, use your rescue inhaler two times per week, have a normal FEV1 between exacerbations, but wake up at night three times per week, your asthma severity is moderate persistent. Your asthma treatment will, in part, be based on your asthma severity.
Interpreting the Asthma Severity TableThe table uses the following criteria to determine asthma severity:
- Symptoms: How many days in the past week have you experienced chest tightness, cough, shortness of breath, or wheezing?
- Nighttime awakenings: How often due you wake up at night with chest tightness, cough, shortness of breath, or wheezing?
- Rescue inhaler use: How many times in the last week have you used your rescue inhaler?
- FEV1: What is your current lung function measured with spirometry? Unlike the other above symptoms, your FEV1 will not be readily available at home; you will need to ask your doctor when pulmonary function tests are performed.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed: May 20, 2010. Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma
Clinical Pulmonary Function Testing, Exercise Testing, and Disability Evaluation. In Chest Medicine: Essentials Of Pulmonary And Critical Care Medicine. Editors: Ronald B. George, Richard W. Light, Richard A. Matthay, Michael A. Matthay. May 2005, 5th edition.
|Intermittent||Mild Persistent||Moderate Persistent||Severe Persistent|
|Symptoms||2 or less days per week||More than 2 days per week||Daily||Throughout the day|
|Nighttime Awakenings||2 X's per month or less||3-4 X's per month||More than once per week but not nightly||Nightly|
|Rescue Inhaler Use||2 or less days per week||More than 2 days per week, but not daily||Daily||Several times per day|
|Interference With Normal Activity||None||Minor limitation||Some limitation||Extremely limited|
|Lung Function||FEV1 >80% predicted and normal between exacerbations||FEV1 >80% predicted||FEV1 60-80% predicted||FEV1 less than 60% predicted|