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Asthma severity

Created by Amy Fan.

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Video transcript

- [voiceover] Asthma is something that we cannot cure at this point in time, so we talk about how severe it is and think about the treatment in terms of how many times a week this person gets symptoms. So we've got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Out of the seven days of the week, the number of times they have their attacks or need their medication is basically how severe their disease is. First we have people who have it very mildly and they only get it intermittently. Intermittent, which means that they have it less than twice a week, so they need their medication basically only once a week. Let's pick Wednesday. They have some trouble breathing, they take their medication, maybe an inhaler, and that's it, they're done. Let me just write that here. We've got less than twice a week, okay? That's our intermittent week. The next categories, the next three, are all persistent as opposed to intermittent. Basically they happen more consistently. The first one of these is Mild. In mild asthma, the definition is that the symptoms occur more than twice a week but not enough to happen daily. If it happens daily and you need your rescue medication daily, that pushes you into the next category. So more than twice a week, let's do Monday. How about Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday? That's a lot of days, but you notice never twice a day. At most, once a day and more than twice a week. The next one, going up in severity, we've got Moderate. Moderate. That's basically daily, seven days a week. When the symptoms occur, people usually use their rescue inhalers or rescue medication, and they're moderate. That's every day. The last one, of course, is Severe. I'm going to use red, using a traffic light color system. Severe is bad symptoms every day or more than once a day. So we've got bad symptoms every day. This is not just your usual one hit on the inhaler and done, but you might have asthma attacks, you might end up in the hospital, and on this day, they might have two of them. Basically we should never let anybody walk around with this level of asthma, this completely seems like untreated. It's a huge disruption to their life. That's basically bad, severe asthma.