Patterns of asthma
Because the frequency and severity of attacks can vary over a period of time with any asthma sufferer, it is difficult to classify any patient as having a particular type of asthma. Thus, doctors use a general classification to identify a patient's patterns of asthma, as follows:
A person who suffers occasional attacks, yet has normal lung function between attacks, is said to have an episodic condition. Medication is usually not necessary between attacks.
This classification applies when a person suffers an asthma attack more than once a month. While the symptoms may not necessarily be severe, this frequency does indicate bronchial hyper-reactivity. In some instances, regular medication is advisable until the attacks are reduced.
People who experience some symptoms on most days are considered to have a chronic asthma condition. This does not mean the symptoms are always severe, just that they are continuous. Usually regular medication is required to keep the lungs functioning as normally as possible. Chronic asthma can be reversed with an individually tailored medication program. Some chronic asthma sufferers have severe symptoms over a long period of time and may require long-term or indefinite medication to be able to lead a normal life.
Anyone who is diagnosed as having asthma can have an acute asthma attack, meaning a sudden onset of severe or mild symptoms. Acute attacks can even result in death if proper medication is not given.
Correct medication is important in helping an asthmatic get over an acute attack. People who are prone to sudden, severe attacks should always have a supply of potent medication at hand and an understanding of what to do in the event of an emergency.