Purpose of review
Severe asthma is often associated with numerous comorbidities that complicate disease management and affect patient's outcomes. They contribute to poor disease control and mimic asthma symptoms. Although some comorbidities such as obstructive sleep apnea, bronchiectasis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are generally well recognized, many other may remain undiagnosed but may be detected in an expert specialist setting. The management of comorbidities seems to improve asthma outcomes, and optimizes therapy by avoiding overtreatment. The present review provides recent knowledge regarding the most common comorbidities which are associated with severe asthma.
Comorbidities are more prevalent in severe asthma than in mild-to-moderate disease or in the general population. They can be grouped into two large domains: the pulmonary domain and the extrapulmonary domain. Pulmonary comorbidities include upper respiratory tract disorders (obstructive sleep apnea, allergic and nonallergic rhinitis, chronic rhinosinusitis, nasal polyposis) and middle/lower respiratory tract disorders (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis and fungal sensitization, bronchiectasis, dysfunctional breathing). Extrapulmonary comorbidities include anxiety, depression, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, obesity, cardiovascular, and metabolic diseases.
The identification of comorbidities via multidimensional approach is needed to initiate appropriate multidisciplinary management of patients with severe asthma.