New Survey: People Living with Asthma Believe It Is Controlled, But Persistent Symptoms and Limits to Everyday Activities Tell a Different Story

Surveyed healthcare providers expect well-controlled asthma patients should experience no limits to everyday activities and fewer asthma symptoms

VIENNA, Va., and RIDGEFIELD, Conn., APRIL 7, 2016 – A new survey of people living with asthma reveals they may be accepting persistent symptoms and limits to their everyday activities because they believe their asthma is well-controlled. Allergy & Asthma Network, the leading nonprofit organization whose mission is to end the needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions, commissioned the Observations of Patient Experience in the Nation (OPEN) Asthma Survey, which was sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

The OPEN Asthma Survey included people living with asthma who were treated with daily prescription medicine, as well as healthcare providers who treat patients with asthma. The survey was conducted to explore current attitudes of healthcare providers and patients about asthma control with the goal of identifying areas for improvement.

“These findings validate and build on past research showing that even patients who are currently treated with a daily prescription medicine to control their asthma continue to experience symptoms,” said Tonya Winders, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of Allergy & Asthma Network. “This underscores an urgent need to reject complacency and raise the bar for asthma control. No one should accept uncontrolled asthma as a part of their lives.”

In the OPEN Asthma Survey, the majority of patients report their symptoms as well-controlled and that their lives are not strongly affected by their asthma. Yet, 70 percent report regularly experiencing some limits to performing everyday activities such as walking, getting enough sleep and household chores. By contrast, 84 percent of surveyed healthcare providers report well-controlled patients should experience no limits to these activities.

Additionally, the surveyed healthcare providers believe that, on average, well-controlled patients should only be experiencing symptoms, such as wheezing, shortness of breath and daytime fatigue, about once a month. Yet, the surveyed patients who self-identified as well-controlled report, on average, experiencing symptoms, such as coughing, shortness of breath and daytime fatigue, on a weekly basis.

The survey also reveals a communication gap between patients and healthcare providers regarding the conversations during routine office visits. Fewer than half of patients surveyed say they discuss symptoms, with less than one-third saying they discuss how asthma affects daily life, and even fewer discuss an Asthma Action Plan. However, the majority of healthcare providers report regularly discussing these same topics (symptoms, limits to activities and action plans) with their patients.

“Healthcare providers can make visits more productive by asking specific questions to uncover limits to daily activities and persistent asthma symptoms as indicators of control,” said Dr. Purvi Parikh, Allergist and Immunologist, NYU Medical Center, Beth Israel Medical Center. “It’s important that healthcare providers take every opportunity to probe about concerns, behaviors and habits that might be affected by asthma. This dialogue can help determine if changes are needed to the patient’s personal Asthma Action Plan in order to help them achieve better asthma control.”

Taking Action Together for Better Asthma Control

Allergy & Asthma Network recommends healthcare providers and people living with asthma do the following together to help achieve better asthma control:

  • Uncover barriers to control through regular, specific dialogue about:
    • Individual priorities in managing asthma
    • Limits to everyday activities – including sleep
    • Fears or concerns in relation to asthma
  • Track control through the use of:
    • Objective clinical tools and measures
    • Daily symptom diaries
  • Co-create a personal Asthma Action Plan, reassessing and adjusting at every visit.

More information is available at, where visitors will find resources from Allergy & Asthma Network including a sample Asthma Action Plan, asthma control test, symptom diary and a free self-care app to conveniently help track and manage asthma.

About The OPEN Asthma Survey

The Observations of Patient Experience in the Nation (OPEN) Asthma Survey was conducted between November 2015 and January 2016 with 2,900 self-reported adults living with asthma and over 850 healthcare providers in the U.S. The patient and healthcare provider survey arms were conducted separately and there were no known relationships between the patients and healthcare providers surveyed.

Patients included were 18 years or older who reported being diagnosed with asthma by a healthcare provider for at least one year and were prescribed a daily prescription maintenance medication for asthma at the time of the survey.

Healthcare providers included pulmonologists, primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pediatricians and allergists that spend at least 75 percent of their time in direct patient care and treat at least 5-10 asthma patients monthly.

The survey was conducted by research company Kantar Health on behalf of the Allergy & Asthma Network and funded by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

About Asthma

More than 22 million people in the U.S. have asthma. Asthma is a chronic disease and in the U.S., many patients taking currently available asthma treatments continue to experience symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, waking at night and shortness of breath.

When a person with asthma comes into contact with an asthma trigger (e.g., infections, pollen, smoke), their airways can become inflamed, swollen and constricted and excess mucus is produced. These reactions can cause the airways to become narrower and irritated, making it difficult to breathe. People suffering from asthma experience recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing. Asthma attacks, which can be serious and sometimes fatal, occur when symptoms become more intense or frequent.

About Allergy & Asthma Network

Allergy & Asthma Network is the leading national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending needless death and suffering due to asthma, allergies and related conditions. Allergy & Asthma Network specializes in sharing family-friendly, medically accurate information through its award-winning publication Allergy & Asthma

About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation.

Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, the company operates globally with 146 affiliates and more than 47,000 employees. Since its founding in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel treatments for human and veterinary medicine.

Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to improving lives and providing valuable services and support to patients and families. Our employees create and engage in programs that strengthen our communities. To learn more about how we make more health for more people, visit our Corporate Social Responsibility Report at

In 2014, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about $16.96 billion dollars (13.3 billion euros). R&D expenditure corresponds to 19.9 percent of its net sales.

For more information please visit, or follow us on Twitter @BoehringerUS.