The Definition of Chronic Asthma
According to the National Institute of Health, currently asthma can be divided into 4 types that are mild intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent and severe persistent. Asthma sufferers that fall into the severe persistent is characterized as chronic asthma.
Talking about the peak flow rate, firstly the mild intermittent and mild persistent asthma, their peak flow rate is more than 80 percent of normal. Moderate persistent is between 60 to 80 percent. Chronic asthma, a severe form of asthma has a peak flow rate of below 60 percent.
The symptoms for chronic asthma also differ from the other three categories. Unlike people who fall into the first three categories, people that suffer from this type of asthma have recurrent symptoms of asthma daily which is associated with breathlessness, sudden tightness of the chest and wheezing sounds. At times the wheezing sounds cannot be heard at all if the bronchial tubes have been almost sealed completely and air cannot pass through the lungs.
Many chronic asthma sufferers have been hospitalized before with the required assistance of a respirator whereby people suffering from mild and moderate asthma can reverse their symptoms on inhaled medications alone. Asthmatics requires the need of preventive medication like oral corticosteroid courses.
Even the inhaler that severe asthmatics use is different. Asthma sufferer sometimes requires the need of nebulizers. A nebulizer is a device that is used to rapidly deliver aerosol medication containing beta adrenergic agonist. Unlike a metered dose inhaler (MDI), a nebulizer does not require good inhaling techniques and all it requires is normal breathing. A nebulizer also delivers a greater quantity of medication compared to a MDI. However, a nebulizer is more expensive than a MDI.
The purpose of ‘treatment strategy’ for chronic asthma which differs from age to age, is to ensure that the lungs of the sufferer function properly and can lead a normal lifestyle. Usually most physicians will usually take a step by step approach to treat severe asthma.
Basically, the first step to be taken is to always control the symptoms and to stabilize the lungs. This treatment will often requires a high dosage of inhaled corticosterioids and a long acting beta agonist. Second steps is, if the patient condition has been stabilized, slowly try to reduce the dosage of the medication used so as to avoid as little side effect as possible.