Complications of Asthma

By  , Expert Content
Jan 18, 2013

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Asthma is a chronic disease of the respiratory system which causes constriction of the airways. Bronchoconstriction causes symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and chest tightness. Asthma can cause several complications and some of them can be even fatal. Read to know some of the complications of asthma.


[Read: How to Treat Asthma with Food]

Lifestyle Complications: People with moderate to severe asthma can have frequent exacerbations of symptoms which may necessitate frequent visits to hospital emergency room. Besides this the frequent symptoms can disturb their sleep, interfere with daily activities at home, school, or work place and recreational activities. The asthma medications can have several effects.  All these can prevent a person with moderate to severe asthma from leading a normal life as they may become frightened, apprehensive, frustrated and end up missing days of work or school.

Corticosteroid Side-effects: Many people with asthma need corticosteroid for control of asthma symptoms. People on long term or high dose steroids can experience side effects such as easy skin bruising, weight gain, osteoporosis, facial changes and skin dystrophy.

Pneumothorax: This is a rare and potentially fatal complication. In this condition air leaks out of the lungs into the pleural space due to rupture of overstretched alveoli or air sacs in the lungs. Pneumothorax may be suspected if a patient with asthma complains of chest pain or the breathing problem suddenly worsens. If the air leakage is significant it can cause collapse of the lung and even death.


[Read: General Guidelines for Treatment of Asthma]


Severe Coughing: Coughing is a common symptom of asthma. Severe coughing episode in these patients can cause complications such as disturbance of sleep, chest pain, urinary incontinence in women and fecal incontinence in men or women.

Status Asthmaticus: This is a rare life-threatening complication of asthma. People with this complication have severe symptoms (such as difficulty in breathing, chest tightness and air hunger) which do not respond well to usual treatment for acute attack of asthma (such as inhaled steroids and broncho-dilators, oral or intravenous steroids).


Read more articles on Asthma.

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