Complications of Asthma

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 Complications of Asthma

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.

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 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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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