Never Get Caught Unaware of Asthma! It Can Be Dangerous!
Asthma is a serious condition, but a timely intervention can help big time! Uncontrolled asthma has become a significant problem. In 2010, more than 3,550 Americans died from asthma attacks and approximately 20 million suffer from asthma, making it one of the top 10 chronic diseases by prevalence. Even if fatality has decreased with the introduction of effective medications over the past few years, you should never ignore a flare-up. Even if there is no cure for asthma, a strict compliance to the most appropriate treatment option can help avoid flare-ups.
It is known that a treated patient can live a normal life. But what happens to those who are untreated? The dangers of untreated asthma can be troublesome not only in terms of health but also financially. They may range from everyday discomforts to long hospital stays or even death.
Aside from the uncomfortable symptoms of wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness, one may suffer from lifestyle interruptions:
Asthmatic patients exhibit most of their symptoms at night. One may need to use an inhaler to control night awakenings and attacks. If this happens regularly, it may cause sleep deprivation. This will certainly impact one’s ability to perform efficiently at school or work. This may also pose a serious risk of you are driving a vehicle.
Asthmatic patients normally have limited physical activities because they may cause exacerbations of symptoms. A sedentary lifestyle will make you gain more weight and increases your risk for other health conditions. Also, lack of exercise may increase the risk of psychological distress in some patients.
Of course, with the uncomfortable symptoms of uncontrolled asthma, your everyday performance will surely be affected in a negative way. Many kids are missing school days because of asthma. Their academic performances become compromised.
Aside from lifestyle changes, a patient who is not cautious in managing his or her condition may suffer from severe anxiety or stress. This will make it more difficult to treat asthma.
What else may happen if asthma is not managed properly?
If you have the initial symptoms of asthma and you forgot to take your medicines, it may cause a more severe attack requiring you to visit the nearest hospital. Common symptoms that may indicate that you need an urgent attention include severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, walking, and talking, and bluish discoloration of the skin.
Untreated asthma may cause lung scarring. This damage is permanent and will cause difficulty in breathing unless with an external aid. This stage of asthma can no longer be reversed using medications. It can be classified as a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). There can be thickening of the airways, excessive mucus production, and increased blood flow to the airways.
In cases of a severe asthma attack, a complete respiratory failure may happen. The airways get shut, and medicines won’t work anymore to open them up. This may cause death if treatment is not made available immediately.
Is Your Asthma Under Control?
A lot of patients do not realize that their asthma has worsened unless they got admitted to the hospital. Most think that they are doing just fine as long as they are regularly taking their rescue drugs. In reality, even if you are not experiencing any symptom, lung inflammation may still be present.
If you are only treating your asthma during attacks, then you’re not controlling it the right way. Taking controller drugs is very important to lessen inflammation and mucus production. This helps heal the lungs.
Risk Factors for Asthma-Related Death
The following are common risk factors related to asthma-related death:
- History of a near-fatal asthma attack
- Poorly controlled asthma with increased episodes of difficulty of breathing, sleep awakenings, and inhaler use
- History of intubation or confinement to an intensive care unit due to an asthma attack
- Two or more asthma-related hospitalization or 3 more visits to the emergency ward
- Use of 2 or more canisters of short-acting bronchodilator within a month
- Substance abuse
- Significant psychiatric problem
- Other significant medical conditions like lung diseases and heart attack
Be Treated Early!
It is very important for asthma to be treated early. Aggressive treatment works effectively. Aside from native cures for asthma, here are two kinds of medicines that can help manage your asthma:
Quick Relief Medicines
If the use of natural oils does not help you breathe normally, these medicines can help by quickly reducing muscle constriction in the airways to offer instant relief. You can get them in a form of an inhaler and are very helpful during attacks.
These medications help reduce inflammation and closure of the airways. They must be used every day to avoid the symptoms. They do not provide instant relief during attacks because they are slow-acting drugs. They are available in a form of pills or inhalers.
Also, you must stay away from allergens that can trigger your asthma.
Know How You Can Decrease Your Risk
If you are at risk then you must make sure that you understand fully the signs and symptoms of worsening asthma and monitor them regularly. You have to know how to manage exacerbation because most fatalities can occur after just a few days of symptoms and are rarely a sudden event.
One of the things that distinguish patients who die from asthma from those who recovered is knowing when to ask for emergency help. Some patients don’t recognize the shortness of breath caused by a flare-up. Others ignore the symptoms because they think they can always recover with self-care and medications. Others are simply not aware that asthma can be very dangerous and fatal. All of these barriers are remediable with proper education and action taking.
Be informed about asthma and the possible worst scenarios! Think and act fast!