People with severe asthma have persistent symptoms
People have severe asthma if their asthma does not respond as well to commonly used asthma medications.
This means they are more at risk of severe attacks and persistent symptoms.
While one in nine Australians has asthma – 2.7 million people – a smaller proportion has severe asthma. This is estimated at three to 10 per cent.
Severe asthma is likely to be caused by several factors, but research has yet to determine exactly why some people develop this severe form of asthma. Asthma is more likely to become severe in people with asthma who are older, or who are smokers. Sometimes asthma becomes more severe after a respiratory infection.
It is not normal to have ongoing frequent asthma symptoms.
People with severe asthma will use many of the same preventer and reliever medicines used by people with mild to moderate asthma. However, people with severe asthma do not respond as well to these commonly prescribed asthma treatments, and often require additional treatment options.
These are described here. If you think you have severe asthma, see your GP and ask if a referral to a respiratory specialist is right for you.