The most common kinds of asthma are mild intermittent and mild persistent asthma. People with mild persistent asthma have mild symptoms, but they occur regularly.

Although the symptoms of asthma are more or less the same, asthma can vary in severity and persistence from mild and intermittent to severe and persistent.

Research suggests that up to 70% of all people with asthma have mild persistent asthma.

Keep reading to learn more about mild persistent asthma and the treatment options available.

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Asthma is an inflammatory condition that affects a person’s airways.

As one study explains, when the airways are chronically inflamed, they can become hyper-responsive to specific triggers, which causes them to swell. This swelling can make it hard for oxygen to reach a person’s lungs.

A person with asthma may experience:

Flare-ups or asthma attacks occur when a person’s asthma symptoms become severe. A severe flare-up needs urgent medical attention.

A person is likely to have mild, persistent asthma if:

  • They have daytime symptoms more than twice per week but less than once per day.
  • Flare-ups sometimes affect their physical activity.
  • They experience nighttime symptoms more than twice per month.
  • Their actual FEV1 value (the amount of air a person can force from their lungs in 1 second) is greater than or equal to 80% of their expected FEV1 value.
  • Their PEF (peak expiratory flow) variability is 20–30%.

A doctor will ask the individual to describe their symptoms.

They may ask about:

  • the frequency and severity of daytime symptoms
  • the frequency and severity of flare-ups
  • the frequency of nighttime symptoms
  • reactions to common triggers, such as smoke

They may also:

  • examine the individual’s lower respiratory tract for signs of wheezing
  • measure their lung function (spirometry)
  • ask the individual to measure their PEF variability over an extended period

When a physician evaluates a person’s lung function, they will typically take two different measurements.

FEV1 value

The FEV1 value is the amount of air a person can force out of their lungs in one second.

A person’s actual FEV1 value is often a percentage of their expected FEV1 value. For example, someone’s actual FEV1 value might be 90% of their expected FEV1 value.

Peak expiratory flow (PEF)

PEF variability looks at the variation in the rate at which a person can expel air from their lungs over time. A person may use a peak flow meter to measure PEF at home.

All of this information can help the doctor assess the severity and persistence of a person’s asthma.

Learn more about the types of asthma and how doctors diagnose them.

It can be hard for a person to predict when an asthma flare will occur. Over time, however, a person with asthma may notice that certain environmental factors and activities trigger their flares.

One research paper lists the following common asthma triggers:

  • dust, dusting, and vacuum cleaning
  • smoking
  • smoke, smog, and air pollution
  • coughing
  • exercise
  • animals and feathers
  • humidity, damp places, and mold
  • grass, weeds, and tree pollen
  • cold air and air conditioning
  • cleaning products
  • perfume, hairspray, and air fresheners
  • strong odors
  • stress and other strong emotions

What are some common asthma triggers?

When a doctor is treating a person’s asthma, they can choose from a range of medications. What they prescribe will depend on which type of asthma a person has.

A doctor will typically recommend inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy as a first-line treatment for mild persistent asthma.

ICS therapy works by reducing inflammation in the airways and is effective at preventing flare-ups. People usually administer it using an inhaler.

What are some home and natural remedies for asthma?

There is no universal consensus on how medical health professionals should classify different kinds of asthma, but one 2019 review suggests the following categories:

  • intermittent vs. persistent
  • mild, moderate, or severe persistent, although a person’s diagnosis may change over time
  • allergic asthma, which is immunoglobulin E mediated
  • nonallergic asthma, possibly triggered by a viral upper respiratory tract infection or no apparent cause
  • occupational
  • aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease
  • potentially fatal
  • exercise-induced
  • cough variant asthma, in which a person has a nonproductive cough that responds to treatment for asthma but not antibiotics, cough suppressants, or other medications

What are the different severity levels of asthma?

What does mild persistent asthma feel like?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, mild persistent asthma is when symptoms occur at least twice weekly but not daily.

Nighttime flare-ups happen at least twice per month but less than once a week. Lung function is at least 80% of typical lung function, and it can affect a person’s ability to do their usual activities.

Is mild persistent asthma serious?

As long as it remains mild, mild persistent asthma is usually manageable with medication and not life threatening.

However, it is worth noting that the severity of asthma can change from mild to severe or severe to mild. Anyone with asthma should continue to monitor their condition and follow a doctor’s recommendations.

What is the treatment for mild asthma?

Mild asthma usually responds to inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy, which can reduce inflammation and help manage or prevent a flare-up.

Asthma is a common inflammatory condition that affects a person’s airways. If left untreated, it can be disruptive, and, sometimes, dangerous.

An individual who thinks they may have asthma should seek the advice of a medical health professional.

A doctor can diagnose asthma relatively easily, and treatment options are usually quite effective.