Complications of Asthma
You could suffer a
variety of health complications if you don’t treat your asthma symptoms
properly. These can range from simple lifestyle disruptions to hospital stays or
even death. Proper attention and preventive care can help you avoid the most
Some asthma patients
experience most of their symptoms during the night. Over time, this can lead to
serious sleep deprivation. Chronic lack of sleep impedes the ability to
function properly at work and school. It can be especially dangerous when
driving or working with machinery.
Asthma may keep some
people from participating in cardiovascular exercise or sports. A lack of exercise
poses risks for other health conditions and weight gain. Loss of physical
activity can also lead to depression and other psychological distress.
Severe asthma flare-ups
can cause excessive absences from work or school. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), asthma is the
number one reason children take sick days from school.
For some people, asthma causes
ongoing chronic inflammation of the airway. This can lead to permanent
structural changes in the airways if not properly treated. This is known as
airway remodeling. It includes all the alterations in structural cells and
tissues in an asthmatic airway. These changes can result in permanent loss of
lung function and a chronic cough. Possible permanent changes in airway
- airway wall
mucous glands and mucus production
blood supply in the airways
According to the AAFA, asthma accounts for a quarter of all U.S. emergency room
visits. Fortunately, almost everyone recovers from even the most severe attacks
with emergency treatment.
Symptoms that indicate
you should seek emergency care are:
walking or talking
tint to the skin
At the hospital, you may
be given oxygen through a face mask or nasal tube. You may require a fast-acting
medication or a dose of steroids. You will be monitored for a few hours until
you are stable. In severe cases, a breathing tube may be inserted into your
airway to maintain airflow into your lungs until your asthma symptoms are under
Severe asthma attacks
constrict the airway. This can lead to complete respiratory failure and death if
not treated immediately. The AAFA estimates that 9 Americans die from asthma every day. There are
more than 4,000 asthma-related deaths a year in America. However, the AAFA also indicates that many
of these deaths could be prevented with proper symptom and emergency care.
Asthma is a serious disease. However, with
attentive and proper care, asthma symptoms and attacks can be controlled to
provide a normal, productive life.