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Levels of Asthma

What are the different levels of asthma?

As determined by the National Institutes of Health, the following is a guideline used by doctors to help determine the extent of asthma in your child. It is classified as "steps" because each child may step up or step down to different levels at any time.

The steps are as follows:

  • Step 1 or intermittent asthma. This group of children has symptoms no more than two times a week, do not have problems in-between flare-ups, and only have short flare-ups from a few hours to a few days. Nighttime symptoms occur less than two times a month.

  • Step 2 or mild persistent. This group of children has symptoms more than two times a week, but not daily, and may have activity levels affected by the flare-ups. Nighttime symptoms occur greater than two times a month, but no more than once per week.

  • Step 3 or moderate persistent. This group of children has symptoms every day, use their rescue medication every day, and may have activity levels affected by the flare-ups. Nighttime symptoms occur greater than one time a week.

  • Step 4 or severe persistent. This group of children has symptoms multiple times per day, have a decrease in their physical activity, and have frequent flare-ups. Nighttime symptoms occur frequently.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 7/29/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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