Severe Asthma




26 million Americans suffer from asthma, and up to 10% have severe asthma. Emerging science is now helping doctors better understand one of the causes of severe asthma in a specific set of patients. It’s important for people living with asthma to understand what kind of asthma they have in order to manage it.

For those who suffer from asthma, controlling the disease becomes a critical part of its management and, in some cases, everyday life. However, few understand the daily struggle of managing the condition because of the nature of the disease itself – each person may experience different asthma symptoms in both frequency and severity.

Severe asthma differs from moderate and mild asthma, and is not just “really bad asthma attacks.” People living with severe asthma may take multiple medications to avoid asthma symptoms, suffer from symptoms almost daily, and need rescue medications several times a day. Their condition can interfere with daily activities like exercise, sleep, work, social life and overall life enjoyment. Of those with severe asthma, nearly 40% are hospitalized for the treatment of their asthma at least once a year.

Emerging research is helping doctors focus on one of the causes of severe asthma, a type of white blood cell called an eosinophil that is present among as many as 60% of severe asthma patients. It’s important that asthma patients are aware of what type of asthma they have. A simple blood test can determine if a patient’s severe asthma is related to eosinophils. Awareness about asthma severity and an understanding that not all asthma is the same is essential to helping doctors determine appropriate management strategies.

In Interviews:
Mark Forshag, M.D., a pulmonologist with GlaxoSmithKline and Donna Matlach, a severe asthma patient and president of the Severe Asthma Foundation.

About Dr. Forshag:
Mark Forshag, M.D., is a US Medical Affairs Lead at GSK, and a pulmonologist. Dr. Forshag can speak about the different types of asthma, including eosinophilic asthma.

About Donna Matlach:
Donna is living with severe asthma and is a lively and engaging woman who will share her personal story about what it’s like to live with severe asthma. She is president of the Severe Asthma Foundation.