JCS Lung & Sleep Centre : A7 Madhuban (Preet Vihar) Vikas Marg New Delhi - 110 092

What is the difference between acute and chronic asthma?

What is the difference between acute and chronic asthma?

Difference between Acute and Chronic Asthma: Acute asthma is like a sudden storm, hitting fast with intense symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath, triggered by things like allergens or infections. Quick-relief inhalers provide immediate help. Chronic asthma, however, is more like a lingering fog, with symptoms that stick around and require regular medication and lifestyle adjustments to keep under control, aiming to prevent ongoing inflammation and flare-ups.

What is acute Asthma?

Acute asthma, often referred to as an asthma attack, is a sudden and severe worsening of asthma symptoms. This intense episode can arise quickly and requires immediate treatment to prevent serious complications, including respiratory failure. During an asthma attack, mucus production increases and is responsible for obstructing the airways.

A person is not in the state to breathe properly, and the duration may be different. The mild attack will last for a few minutes only. But the severe one lasts from 2 hours to 2 days. In most cases, the severe ones are responsible for causing other problems as well.

Acute and Chronic asthma

difference between acute and chronic asthma

Symptoms of an acute asthma attack can manifest in various ways, including:

  • Shortness of Breath: Difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, or feeling like you can't catch your breath.
  • Wheezing: A high-pitched whistling sound when breathing, especially during exhales.
  • Coughing: Often a dry cough, or one producing minimal mucus.
  • Chest Tightness: A feeling of pressure or constriction in the chest.
  • Increased Mucus Production: Some individuals may experience an increase in mucus in the airways.
  • Anxiety or Panic: Due to the difficulty in breathing, it's common for individuals to feel anxious or panicked during an asthma attack.
  • Fatigue: The effort of struggling to breathe can lead to exhaustion.
  • Pale, Sweaty Skin: Particularly in severe cases, the skin may become pale and sweaty due to the increased effort of breathing and lack of oxygen.

Causes of acute Asthma in 2024:

· Exposure to allergens: Such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites.
· Irritants: Including tobacco smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes, or strong smells.
· Respiratory infections: Colds, flu, and other viral infections can precipitate an attack.
· Physical activity: Can induce what's known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.
· Weather changes: Such as cold air or sudden changes in temperature and humidity.


What is chronic Asthma?

Chronic asthma, commonly referred to simply as asthma, is a long-term inflammatory disease of the airways in the lungs. This inflammation leads to episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing, particularly at night or in the early morning.

While asthma symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can be occasional or frequent, the chronic nature of the disease means that the underlying inflammation persists even when symptoms are not apparent..


Symptoms of chronic asthma in 2024:

In 2024, the symptoms of chronic asthma likely remain consistent with traditional observations. These may include coughing, often persistent and more pronounced at night or in the early morning, along with wheezing, a high-pitched whistling sound during exhalation due to narrowed airways. Shortness of breath, particularly noticeable during physical exertion or exposure to triggers, and chest tightness, characterized by a sensation of pressure or constriction in the chest, are also common.

Fatigue may accompany asthma symptoms due to the increased effort required to breathe, often leading to reduced exercise tolerance. Sleep disturbances, such as night time coughing, wheezing, or breathing difficulties, can disrupt sleep patterns. Some individuals may experience increased mucus production, leading to coughing or throat irritation.

Living with asthma can also cause emotional stress or anxiety, especially during flare-ups, highlighting the importance of comprehensive management strategies tailored to individual needs, including medication adherence, trigger avoidance, and regular monitoring to ensure optimal asthma control and overall well-being..

Causes of chronic asthma in 2024:

Genetic Factors

Family History: A strong link exists between family history and the development of asthma. If parents or siblings have asthma, the likelihood of developing it increases.

Allergens: Exposure to allergens such as pollen, mold, pet dander, and dust mites can trigger asthma symptoms and contribute to the chronic nature of the disease.

Air Pollution: Pollutants in the air, including smoke from tobacco or fires, vehicular emissions, and industrial pollution, can aggravate asthma.

Occupational Exposures: Certain jobs expose individuals to chemicals, gases, or industrial dust, known as occupational asthma.

Respiratory Infections

Viral Infections: Early childhood infections, particularly viral respiratory infections, may damage lung tissue and lead to the development of asthma.

Lifestyle Factors

Smoking: Smoking tobacco can exacerbate asthma symptoms and contribute to the onset of asthma in individuals predisposed genetically.

Obesity: Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of developing asthma and can complicate existing asthma, making it harder to manage.

Additional Triggers

Exercise: While healthy, exercise can induce symptoms in many people with asthma, known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction.

Stress and Emotions: High levels of stress and strong emotions can lead to hyperventilation and tightening of the airways, which can trigger an asthma attack.

Difference between acute and chronic Asthma:

  • Acute Asthma:
    • Sudden and severe episodes
    • Rapid onset of symptoms, like wheezing and shortness of breath
    • Often triggered by allergens or infections
    • Requires immediate relief with quick-acting inhalers
  • Chronic Asthma:
    • Ongoing inflammation of airways
    • Symptoms persist or recur over time
    • Managed with regular medication and lifestyle adjustments
    • Aim is to prevent flare-ups and control inflammation

Understanding the distinction between acute and chronic asthma is crucial for effective management. While acute asthma entails sudden and severe symptoms requiring immediate attention, chronic asthma involves persistent respiratory issues that demand ongoing care and monitoring. Seeking the expertise of a skilled pulmonologist is paramount for personalized treatment. In Delhi,

Dr. JC Suri stands out as a leading specialist renowned for his expertise in respiratory care. By consulting with Dr. Suri, patients gain access to tailored treatment plans and invaluable guidance on managing asthma symptoms effectively. Don't hesitate to discuss your specific condition with Dr. Suri, who can offer valuable insights and recommendations tailored to your unique needs.