According to the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report-3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma, asthma severity is best determined prior to assigning a course of treatment and is then assessed after a course of treatment for control has been determined. Patients with severe asthma will require the highest doses of medicine to reach a level of normalcy and still will struggle to control their asthma.
The goal of asthma treatment is to control a patient’s asthma over a long period of time. Well-controlled asthma means no asthma symptoms, which allows easy breathing to have a daily routine without limits. It also prevents future asthma attacks, hospital visits, and loss of lung function.
When determining asthma control, it’s important to identify other factors that make a patient appear to have severe asthma. Some patients may not take their asthma controller medicine(s) as often as prescribed, or may use them incorrectly, resulting in poor control over their asthma. Proper management of other treatable conditions or diseases, such as chronic sinusitis, is important because they might make a patient’s asthma more serious or appear more serious than it is. Also, diseases that mimic asthma, such as vocal cord dysfunction, are important to distinguish from asthma.