Some people living with severe asthma experience symptoms as part of everyday life, despite the use of multiple medicines. When asthma is uncontrolled, serious asthma attacks requiring emergency hospitalizations can occur.

Asthma can be recognized by symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Your level of asthma control can be assessed based on how often these symptoms:

Occur during the day

Wake you in the night

Restrict daily activities such as sports, socializing and going outside

Cause you to use quick-relief rescue inhalers

It is easy for a person to overlook the severity of their asthma, and in some cases, experiencing everyday symptoms can start to feel normal.

personal impact

The symptoms of severe asthma that are not well controlled can be ever-present and impact the everyday lives of those living with the condition, and their loved ones.

Work & School

Severe asthma can cause people to have lower productivity or miss school and work.

Family & Home

Severe asthma can cause anxiety among family members and friends regarding the health and safety of their loved one. In a 2017 survey, 49% of people living with severe uncontrolled asthma said their condition was a burden to their families.


In a 2017 survey, 83% said asthma affected their personal relationships. The symptoms of severe asthma can keep people from doing what they love with friends, and misperceptions about the condition can make people feel misunderstood or embarrassed.


Severe asthma can interfere with physical activity and make routine tasks like climbing stairs, doing chores and running errands feel exhausting. In a 2017 survey, 97% of people living with severe uncontrolled asthma said their condition limited their everyday tasks, and 81% said their ability to exercise was impacted.


It is common for people with severe asthma to experience anxiety and panic attacks due to the unpredictability of their symptoms. It is estimated that 30% to 50% of asthmatics experience symptoms of depression.

Societal Impact

The societal and economic impact of asthma is often under-estimated.

Asthma is associated with direct costs (e.g., hospitalizations, healthcare professional services, medications) and indirect costs (e.g., missed days of work or lower productivity). In Canada, the direct costs of asthma are estimated at $2.1 billion annually, and the indirect costs to the economy are expected to be $4.2 billion annually by 2030.

It is estimated that severe asthma represents about 5% to 10% of asthma cases. It is also estimated that 50% of all annual healthcare costs for asthma come from the most severe asthmatic population. The costs associated with uncontrolled asthma can be more than 2x those of well controlled asthma.