Asthma affects 8.4% of children and 8.1% of adults in the United States. If you’re one of those individuals diagnosed with asthma, knowing the progression of the condition can prepare you to deal with your symptoms more effectively. However, determining your current stage of asthma management and know what to do for asthma management can be tricky.
Everyone’s different, and only a qualified healthcare provider can evaluate your symptoms and provide you with an answer. Therefore, rely on the best primary care physicians to diagnose asthma and tell you how far it has progressed.
Here’s a quick look at what you need to know about the condition.
What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a long-term lung disease. It causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma can make it challenging for people to speak or engage in physical activity, affecting people of any age, sex, or demographic.
Symptoms of asthma include nighttime or early morning breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. Even if you have asthma, you will only have attacks when your lungs are irritated.
There are various types of asthma. For instance, allergic and nonallergic. But that alone doesn’t form the basis of identifying how severe it is. Hence, it is further classified into four stages – intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent, and severe persistent.
The US National Asthma Education and Prevention Program recommends a treatment approach depending on how severe a person’s asthma is, making it essential for every individual with asthma to know their stage.
Below, we review each stage of asthma in further detail.
1. Intermittent Asthma
Asthma is classed as sporadic if you experience symptoms less than two days a week and do not require a daily steroid treatment to regulate your condition. Doctors describe mild intermittent asthma as the gentlest of the other types. Intermittent asthma does not interfere with your daily activities and only wakes you up twice a month during the night.
A person with intermittent asthma would need to utilize a quick-relieving inhaler on two or fewer days per week to control symptoms. At this stage, the doctor is unlikely to recommend a controller prescription.
2. Mild and Persistent Asthma
Asthma is considered mild and persistent if your symptoms occur more than twice a week. It wakes you up three to four times a month at night. Moreover, it slightly restricts you from performing your normal everyday routine.
If you are in this category, you’ll most likely be using a quick-relieving inhaler twice a week and taking some daily low-dose steroid or controller as prescribed by your doctor. When taken daily, these medications can help to alleviate symptoms.
3. Moderate Persistent Asthma
This type of asthma is the second most severe, and its effects are felt regularly. If not daily, it wakes you in the middle of the night more than once a week. The number of normal activities you can participate in places you at a greater risk, but it will not be catastrophic.
An individual will have to use a quick-relieving inhaler on a regular basis. Moreover, asthma can be controlled with a daily combination of steroids and a long-acting bronchodilator medication. In certain circumstances, more than one is required. Individuals with moderate persistent asthma may be referred to an asthma specialist or a pulmonologist.
4. Severe Persistent Asthma
Severe persistent asthma is the most acute type of asthma. Asthma patients at this stage will experience symptoms the entire day. They will also wake up in the middle of the night almost daily. Moreover, it is challenging to carry out everyday tasks, and there are severe restrictions on what you can do.
If you have severe persistent asthma, you most likely will be treated by a pulmonologist or an asthma specialist. You’ll likely be on multiple daily asthma medications, possibly needing an oral steroid to keep your airways open. Moreover, an individual will have to use a quick-relieving inhaler multiple times each day to control symptoms.
Reach Out To The Asthma Specialists At Imperial Center Family Medicine
Asthma is divided into four stages, each with its own treatment options. As the severity of the symptoms increases, the treatments shift. Doctors will develop a treatment plan that effectively addresses your symptoms.
Any individual diagnosed with asthma should immediately contact the asthma management team at Imperial Center Family Health. We can help you design a treatment plan that keeps your symptoms under control, decreasing the risk that asthma causes.