There are four different categories for asthma based on frequency and severity of symptoms: intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent and severe persistent.
Asthma can affect the way a person lives, but there are ways to have fewer symptoms. The best way is to make an asthma action plan. An asthma action plan is a written plan developed by a person with asthma and his/her health care provider. An asthma action plan can help:
- Assess one’s asthma. How bad is it, and what are his/her triggers?
- Control one’s asthma and its triggers. Take medication. Know, reduce, and avoid triggers.
- Monitor one’s asthma. Know what to do in case you or someone you know has an asthma attack, and keep emergency phone numbers handy.
An asthma attack is when asthma symptoms become severe. Signs of a serious asthma attack include:
- Cough, wheezing, or chest tightness
- Breathing hard and fast
- Ribs showing more than normal when breathing in
- Lips or fingernails turning blue
- Being unable to walk or talk well
There are two kinds of medicine used to treat asthma:
- Relievers work to relax muscles around airways. Reliever medicine is used for fast relief of symptoms.
- Controllers work to reduce irritation, swelling, and mucus that block airways. Controller medicine can be used daily to prevent asthma symptoms.