Medical Management of Asthma

  • Andrej Petrov
  • Sally E. Wenzel


Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways characterized by bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) to a variety of stimuli and widespread but variable airflow obstruction that is often reversible either spontaneously or with treatment. Patients with asthma frequently have symptoms which can lead to limitations of daily activities, interrupted sleep, hospitalizations, and emergency department (ED) visits, and in small but significant group of patients, asthma can cause death. The goal of asthma treatment is to enable patients with asthma to lead a normal life with minimal or no symptoms or exacerbations. Asthma has been traditionally classified based on frequency of symptoms and degree of airway obstruction into the following categories: mild intermittent, mildpersistent, moderate persistent and severe persistent (Table 6.1) (Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) 2006). However, this classification has been recently modified and emphasis has moved away from severity classification toward classifying asthma by level of control. According to a new classification, patients with asthma should be categorized as controlled, partly controlled or uncontrolled (Table 6.2). This new concept recognizes that asthma is a disease with variable presentation where an individual’s asthma symptoms may change over months or years. While severity reflects the chronic, underlying state of the disease, asthma control better reflects the variable day-to-day pattern of asthma. Therefore, the emphasis is placed on the periodic assessment of a patient’s symptoms and the responsiveness to treatment. Studies suggest that the close monitoring of patients in this manner may lead to better treatment and prevention of asthma symptoms (Bateman et al. 2004).


Asthma Control Asthma Symptom Asthma Exacerbation Meter Dose Inhaler Nedocromil Sodium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care MedicineUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicinePittsburghUSA

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