Persistent asthma can run the gamut from mild to severe. Knowing the patient’s asthma severity dictates the kind of management and treatment that is necessary. In 1997, the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI) established guidelines for asthma therapy because of the enormous costs to society and individuals that are associated with asthma-related illness. According to these guidelines, the goals of asthma therapy are: “To prevent asthma symptoms and to ensure no sleep interference, no missed school or work, and no or few emergency room visits or hospitalizations because of asthma. Other goals include maintaining normal activity levels, normal or near-normal lung function, and no side effect or few side effects with optimal asthma therapy” (Haveles 2).
The majority of asthma cases are detected in childhood, but an individual can suddenly suffer from asthma at any age. The disease appears to have some genetic connection, since the normal incidence in the general population is 5%, but those with parents of siblings who suffer from asthma have an incidence of 25% (Klag 69). Asthma causes the aforementioned symptoms in the sufferer because the reaction to allergens produces inflammation of the airways. This irritation sets off mucous production as the body tries to soothe the irritation. In turn, the increased mucous production begins to fill up the bronchiole tubes causing an obstruction o