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Keywords:

  • clinical signs;
  • epidemiology;
  • mild asthma;
  • physiopathology;
  • treatment

This review is the synthesis of a working group on mild asthma. Mild asthma includes intermittent and persistent mild asthma according to the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) classification, and affects between 50% and 75% of asthmatic patients. Mild asthma is more frequent, more symptomatic, and less well controlled in children than in adults. Cohort studies from childhood to adulthood show that asthma severity usually remains stable over time. Nevertheless, mild asthma can lead to severe exacerbations, with a frequency ranging from 0.12 to 0.77 per patient-year. Severe exacerbations in mild asthma represent 30–40% of asthma exacerbations requiring emergency consultation. In mild asthma, inflammation and structural remodelling are constant, of varying intensity, but nonspecific. Therapy with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) decreases bronchial inflammation, but has only a slight effect on structural remodelling, and, when stopped, inflammation immediately recurs. Permanent low-dose ICS therapy is the reference treatment for persistent mild asthma. Effectiveness is to be reassessed at 3 months, and if it is insufficient the patient is no longer considered mildly asthmatic, and treatment has to be stepped up. As mild asthma is the most frequent form of the disease, diagnosis and management require physicians’ particular attention.