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Asthma Names

Is anyone else confused?

Why cant medical people just stick to set medical names?

One doctor says i am severe, another chronic, another difficult, another brittle?

Are there no guidelines into what people would fit?

It is another issue that needs raising there needs to be some framework somewhere that says what cateriogies need to be ticked in order to fit in to a zzzzzzzz name. I have got to the point i say i am asthmatic and take this and that medication and this is how it affects me daily/weekly and let the medical person decide its asthma name.

Does this annoy anyone else or is it just me?


19 Replies

There are some oficial guidelines for brittle asthma.

You can only be officially labelled Brittle by a consultant and technically it is quite rare. (Type one and type two etc)

The term brittle asthma has been liberally used for all sorts where as most of the time it is chronic, severe, uncontroled, difficult etc etc .

It is all down to interpretation by the doctor and the patient sometimes.

Whatever label it is.... it is still asthma! I call mine stroppy asthma!


It's not just you, my Son was said to have brittle asthma type 2 by pediatric consultant, until we saw a respiratory consultant then was told didn't have asthma, then said it was severe and difficult and even labile another word!! Maybe there could be a special asthma dictionary so we know what the hell is going on without being blinded with fancy names. We can't all fly under the same banner either as different types of asthma need treating in different ways, it's a no win situation out there! The name rattles comes from my Son saying it when his chest hurt when he was little.Couldn't think of a better user name at the time, wish I had!!


every name there is

hi all well i was told i had mild asthma 10 years ago then i was told i had ABPA no its not abba broncopulmunery asbergilis sorry about my spelling so they had me in a state after redaing up on this , then after six months no you have not got abpa just asthma, i say that mildly then i went from severe to chronic hard to control allergic now brittle so what have i got now the last time i was admitted it was respitory failure so was this an attack , i had no infection they said just couldt breath or walk . sometime s i think they just want to confuse us even more !!


I have had my asthma described as anything from mild to brittle and even fragile most drs when I have an attack dont treat me any different when I first come in its they tend to keep me longer if they decide to use the term brittle


I've wondered that too. Filling in application forms - do I say mild when according to my personal action plan I've been at stage three for the last few months.


Hi plumie

I used to get frustrated with this labelling business

but now on official forms use the term difficult

to control asthma but unofficially refer to my lungs

as being militant or like their owner stubborn.

As far as I'm aware brittle, difficult etc all

mean the same thing and tend not to take

too much notice of Doctor's labelling!. Take

care Plumie xxx


Mine's described as 'severe' 'difficult to manage' and simply 'not usual' at moment and I've been monitoring peak flows to see how 'brittle' I am.

Have minimal symptoms/good control about 3/4 of time but have bother rest of time including quick onset acute attacks + allergy symptoms with little warning, can have really nasty symptoms massive peak flow dips from viral infections. Tried upping meds in the good times to try and stabilise the bad times but it doesn't help.

'Severe' description makes people think I'm too ill to walk properly so folk look at me gone out if I've just been swimming or they see me walking around at a normal pace when I'm in good control mode!!


Mine has been described as a whole variety of thing the latest is ""unusual manifestation"" and ""feisty


I was down as moderate/cronic last time I went doctors a about a month agao and today I have just been changed to difficult/brittle type 1.

This was done because when a arrived at the doctors this morning for my appointment I couldn't breathe or talk so the receptionist took me straight through and the doctor I was meant to have seen decided to hand me to a female doctor that didn't have a patient and he then came in to see how I was doing after 5 mins. They out me straight on a neb gave me 2.5ml salbutamol nebule and my normal doctor told the female doctor that if after 5 mins of coming off the neb she was not happy with the improvement then I ws to ring my hubbie to come and collect the little-one and she was to get an ambulance and get me admitted to hopital and the paramedics would give me a second dose on the neb an doxegen. Well after th e5 mins I was breathing perfectly normal again and was able to talk the only thng wrong was I had horrid shacks and couldn't walk un-assisted so the receptionist knidly gave me a lift home as she had a stage 1 car-seat in her car for her child which she put my little-one in. They have changed my dosage on my inhalers again fo rthe second time and if I am no better by Monday then I am to go back but if there is improvement then she will see me back in 2 weeks for a review to decided what to do next.


Hi my daughter's asthma was described as severe unclassified asthma - another one to put in the mix.



Mines classed as mild but I had a near heart attack before Christmas, had mild symptoms all day, used inhaler as needed and by 6pm couldn't breath properly, told wasn't getting enough oxygen to my heart because asthma had got so out of control. If that's mild you can keep severe!!!


my asthma has also been described as brittle ,chronic and severe so i dunno. somtimes i think some doctors dont really understand asthma and make it up as they go along.


i agree there i sometimes think the doctors dont know, i think asthma should just be labelled either as asthma or have a set frame work for who contributes to which.


All the tests i have had done have now come back. My consultant has sent me a letter confirming what he first thought 18 months ago. I definately have Brittle Asthma Type 2, this meaning i am controlled for a period of time and then out of the blue from no where i will have an attack which will leave me fighting for my life and then take around 3-6 months to recover.

It is a shock as i thought i was only chronic asthma but now he has got the tests back from a specialist he sent them too confirming i am Brittle type 2.

I guess i have told myself oo i not that bad when actually now i have to go back to ok i am that bad but i need to just get on with living my life.

(not quite sure how i feel about this)



aaww! Plumie,

sorry for your news a big shock for you.

take care,love Glynis xxx


Hi Plumie,

Please remember ... it is only a name / label!

At least you have a definitive name for it.

I am brittle type one and two, just to be awkward but most of the time I just say Asthma, and then elaborate if needed. It is the treatment bit that is important, as much control as you can get on the minimum amout of meds, though in our case, an amount to bronchodilate an elephant.

Take care



Hi Kate

I am glad it is only a label, and most of the time when i really ill all the medics get is asthma in a whisper, it only when i throw a medical sheet that i carry around at them that they get more detail and then that just tells them my normal symptoms and my medication and what is normally used to treat an attack.

I just take each day as it comes and do what my body says it can unless i having a stubborn day ;)



Hi Plumie,that's a bit of a shock! mine has changed on my earlier note on here 19th March, got ill on 20th!! I said mine was classed as mild or borderline!now 3 weeks later,it's severe and brittle. I'm on oral steroids still and fostair 4 puffs am and pm, loads of blue and my lungs hurt every time I move. I started on this site because of my son who has brittle asthma type 2, his asthma is fab at the mo.I'm taking ever day as it comes but keep over doing it as I'm still not used to have dodgy lungs.I'm so used to being fit and active.I'm laughing as I said before Rattles is my Sons nickname as it's how he sounds when his lungs are bad,now I'm living up to my user name!!

take care

Kate x


It's easy to get caught up with names and stages of treatment. But think we must remember we all have asthma which effects our lungs and during an attack wether mild, servere or brittle it always has the same risks and medical emergencies..... Hope everyone is keeping ok


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