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My Definition of Asthma Control

I have had a good stretch of health recently and I had been doing some thinking about my newfound asthma control. This has me on a quest to gain a better understanding of how asthma control is defined.

What is my definition of asthma control?

What I have found is that there have been a variety of task forces and groups1that have come together to determine definitions for asthma control and severity, based on consensus and clinical relevance. My research also determined that defining asthma control is a work in progress. The task forces have defined asthma control as the extent to which various manifestations of asthma have been reduced or removed by treatment.1 The two main criteria are:

  • The level of clinical control, gauged by symptoms and the extent that the patient can carry out daily activities of living and optimum quality of life.
  • The reduction in the risk of future events, including loss of control exacerbations, accelerated decline in lung function, and side effects of treatment.

These two main themes seem to make up the definition of asthma control. Is this how you would define asthma control? What other factors would you include?

Tracking for asthma control

I have noticed that when you are skirting the edges of asthma control, trending either for the positive or the negative, it is sometimes more challenging to define if your asthma is in fact controlled at all.

What are the components that you are the most concerned about? I think my vote would be for being symptom-free, being able to do all my regular things without symptoms or impact. I have not been tracking my symptoms as diligently as I had been in the past. I may consider restarting to track my daily symptoms and any challenges with completing daily tasks. I may also do The ACQ (Asthma Control Questionnaire), which is a simple questionnaire that you may have completed at a follow-up appointment. It simply measures the adequacy of asthma control and changes in asthma control (spontaneously) or as a result of treatment.2

Asthma control is easier with help

Have you tracked your ACQ over a range of time or does your care team use this tool to discuss asthma control with you? It is important to let yourself get used to living with poor asthma control. If you think that you have had changes in asthma control, it may be time for an asthma review with your care team. While living with some symptoms may be normal, it is best to have any changes identified early to prevent any long-term consequences with quick intervention.

I know that living in a state of the best possible asthma control is something that I am striving for.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Reddel HK, Taylor DR, Baeman ED, et al. An official American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society statement: Asthma control and exacerbations. ATS. 2009;180:59-99.
  2. Juniper EF. Asthma Control Questionnaire. ATS. 2005;99:553-558.


  • Weezer
    6 months ago

    I don’t intend to sound negative but I’m at what I hope is the end of an asthma flare up. I don’t think you can truly have asthma control if you are allergic or severely asthmatic. I seem to have just like how @leon-lebowitz mentions a few weeks of bliss then an period of symptoms.

    It’s a great article as I am truly debating at the moment do I ever truly have my asthma under control or should I be saying it maintained by medications. I have a few food allergies and intolerances and I do think that they are the triggers to my asthma.

  • Shellzoo
    7 months ago

    I find when I am breathing well and my asthma feels controlled that I get a false security that I have beat asthma and will never have asthma symptoms again. I know better but breathing well feels really good. I would love to never have asthma symptoms again and never have to use inhalers.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    7 months ago

    Hi Shellzoo, and thanks for chiming in on this article’s content by Dia. I think we all feel that way! It would be wonderful if, while symptoms have faded, the condition might have disappeared as well. And then reality sets in, and we know this cannot be the case.
    Try to enjoy your good days and, with proper control, make them last longer, and the times between attacks lengthen, too.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

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