Guidelines define mild asthma

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute released its Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma in 1991, which defined mild asthma as a condition in which the patient has few clinical signs or symptoms of asthma except for occasional episodes of coughing or wheezing one to two times a week. The guidelines — which were updated in 1994 — advocate using albuterol as the treatment of choice for those episodes.1 If more frequent symptoms occur, the patient should contact his or her physician for other therapy, such as corticosteroid inhalers.

"In mild asthma, it’s OK to use beta-agonists, but you always should be aware that when patients get worse, there’s got to be more aggressive treatment," Hurd says.

In addition, the most recent study was done only with adults, but the results apply to children as well, she adds.


1. National Asthma Education Program. Executive summary: Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health; 1994.