What're the complications of asthma?
Death from asthma is still a very uncommon event. Five thousand people die each year from asthma. Each year, asthma is responsible for 1.5 million emergency department visits, 500,000 hospital admissions, and 100 million days of restricted activity. In lost work and productivity, asthma is responsible for approximately $13 billion each year. Asthma accounts for
more school absences and more hospitalizations of children than any other chronic illness.
Asthma often progresses very slowly to a serious condition or may develop to a fatal or near-fatal attack within a few minutes. It is very difficult to predict when an attack will become very serious. It should be noted that early symptoms or lack of them do not always reflect the ultimate severity of an attack. In fact, some studies suggest that people at high risk for fatal or near-fatal asthma attacks are those with poor awareness of their own reduced ability to breathe and who are therefore slow in seeking help. Monitoring peak flow rates is, therefore, an important management component, since it provides a more accurate assessment of lung function than symptoms alone.
Emotional problems. Even when it is not life threatening, asthma is debilitating and frightening. It significantly lowers the quality of life.
Sleep disorders. Sleeplessness and daytime sleepiness are common problems. Studies indicate that between 80% and 93% of asthmatics have sleeping problems about three times a week. In one poll, 40% missed work an average of 11 days a year because of sleep disturbance. Asthma has been associated with snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which blockage of the upper airway causes the sleeper to temporarily stop breathing, then resume with a gasp, often many times during each hour of sleep.
Asthma and pregnancy. Uncontrolled asthma in pregnant women puts them at higher risk for complications that can include early labor, hypertension, gestational diabetes, and hemorrhage. Asthma also places the babies at risk for lower birth weight and breathing disorders. Teenage mothers with asthma face higher risks than older women. Fortunately, studies indicate that most asthma drugs are safe to take during pregnancy, and good control of asthma reduces these risks to normal levels. Fortunately, a number of asthma medications are safe during pregnancy.
Heart disease. There have been some reports of an association between asthma and a heightened risk for heart disease. Some experts believe that the inflammatory process may be the common factor linking the two conditions, although there is no evidence to date confirming any causal association.
The severity of asthma is graded using the following categories: mild intermittent and mild, moderate, and severe persistent.
More information on asthma
What is asthma? - Asthma is a chronic inflammatory respiratory disease characterized by periodic attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, and a tight feeling in the chest.
What types of asthma are there? - Types of asthma include child-onset asthma, adult-onset asthma, exercise-induced asthma, cough-variant asthma, occupational asthma, nocturnal asthma.
What's bronchial asthma? - Bronchial asthma is a disease of the lungs in which an obstructive ventilation disturbance of the respiratory passages evokes a feeling of shortness of breath.
What is exercise-induced asthma? - Exercise-induced asthma is a form of asthma that some people have during or after physical activity. Exercise-induced asthma is common.
What is adult-onset asthma? - Adult onset asthma generally is the onset of asthma for the first time in someone of middle age or older. Adult-onset asthma develops after age 20.
What is status asthmaticus? - Status asthmaticus is a severe asthma episode that does not respond to standard treatment. Status asthmaticus is caused by severe bronchospasm.
What causes asthma? - Asthma is caused by inhaling an allergen that sets off the chain of biochemical and tissue changes leading to airway inflammation, bronchoconstriction, and wheezing.
What're the asthma triggers? - Many risk factors have been linked to triggering asthma attacks. There are two basic types of asthma triggers, allergic triggers, non-allergic triggers.
Asthma and allergy - Asthma attacks (worsening of asthma symptoms) can be triggered by allergies. Allergy is the leading cause of asthma.
What is an asthma attack? - An asthma attack occurs when the small and medium-sized airways become inflamed and constricted after being exposed to a trigger.
Asthma in children - Asthma is the most common chronic condition of childhood. Asthma symptoms can interfere with many school activities for children.
Asthma and pregnancy - During pregnancy, asthma or asthma episodes will become worse for an estimated one-third of pregnant women, particularly women who have severe asthma.
Asthma in adults and older people - Identifying asthma in the elderly can be difficult because asthma symptoms can be confused with symptoms of heart or lung diseases.
What're the complications of asthma? - Uncontrolled asthma in pregnant women puts them at higher risk for complications that can include early labor, hypertension, gestational diabetes.
What are the symptoms of asthma? - The symptoms of asthma include labored breathing, constriction of the chest, coughing and gasping usually brought on by allergies.
What're the warning signs of asthma? - Most people with asthma have warning signs before symptoms appear. There are many warning signs of an asthma episode.
How is asthma diagnosed? - The diagnosis of asthma is made on the basis of typical symptoms and signs. Positive allergy tests support a diagnosis of asthma.
What're the treatments for asthma? - Treatment of asthma is aimed at avoiding known allergens and respiratory irritants and controlling symptoms and airway inflammation through medication.
What quick relief (rescue) medications cure asthma? - Short-acting beta-agonists are the most commonly used asthma rescue medications. Anticholinergics are another class of asthma drugs.
Long-term asthma control medications - Combinations of steroids and other medications are effective for both treating and preventing asthma attacks in patients with moderate to severe asthma.
What're asthma inhalers? - Most asthma drugs are inhaled using special devices or nebulizers. Two common types include dry powder asthma inhalers and metered-dose asthma inhalers.
What're asthma nebulizers? - Asthma nebulizers can be used with all classes of inhaled medications but are most commonly used with short-acting beta2 agonists and ipratropium bromide.
How to control acute asthma attacks? - Acute asthma is an acute exacerbation of wheezing, unresponsive to usually effective therapy and necessitating care in an emergency room or hospital ward.
How to manage chronic asthma symptoms? - The aims of management are to recognize asthma, to abolish symptoms, to restore normal or best possible long term airway function.
What asthma relievers are available? - Asthma reliever is a drug that provides relief from asthma symptoms and is the most commonly used asthma medication.
What asthma preventers are available? - Asthma preventers are to be used twice a day regardless of whether your child has symptoms of asthma.
What's the treatment for childhood asthma? - The goals of asthma therapy are to prevent child from having chronic and troublesome symptoms, to maintain child's lung function.
What's the treatment for asthma in the elderly? - Diagnosis and treatment of asthma can be more complicated in people age 65 and older than in those who are younger.
What can be done to prevent asthma? - Avoiding known allergens and respiratory irritants can reduce asthma symptoms. People with asthma should minimize risk for respiratory tract infections.