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Complications of Uncontrolled Asthma

Definition:

Uncontrolled asthma occur when you have persistent symptoms of cough, wheeze, shortness of breath and chest tightness with frequent usage of medication for immediate relief or visit to clinic/ emergency department for nebulizer.

Reasons for asthma become uncontrolled:

  1. Ongoing exposure to an allergen (like grass, tress, pollen, etc.) or irritants in the air (such as smoke or strong smells)
  2. Other known triggers are:
    • Extreme humidity and cold weather
    • Illnesses such as flu
    • Medications such as aspirin or acetaminophen
    • Being under stressed conditions
    • Furry animals
    • Unchanged beddings and furnishings

    *Only the patient will know what the irritants/allergens/triggers are, for example ingestion of pickled food can induce an attack, thus it is important to recognize and avoid exposure to the known factors

  3. Not using medication as prescribed by doctor
  4. Poor inhaler technique
  5. Exercise may induce an asthma attack
  6. Complicating conditions that coexist with asthma such as gastro esophageal reflux and obesity.
  7. Wrong diagnosis of asthma

Complications that may arise if asthma is not controled:

  1. Children shall miss school due to difficulty in breathing
  2. Similarly, adults may be absent from work
  3. Patients who have exercise induced asthma may not want to be involved in sporting activities and / socialize
  4. Recurrent infection in the lung
  5. A part of the lung did not expand fully leading to chronic lung scarring.
  6. Patient may develop a condition called respiratory failure that requires you to breathe through mechanical ventilator machine.
  7. All the above results in poor quality of life
  8. Death

Image of infection in the lung

Image of infection in the lung

Source: Copyright from topnews.in

Image of collapsed lung

Image of collapsed lung

Source: Copyright from www.nlm.nih.gov

Treatment:

Refer to asthma medication

Prevention:

  1. Identify and avoid the environment factors that makes your symptoms uncontrolled
  2. Lead a healthy life style.
  3. Use your medication as prescribed
  4. Seek advice from your doctor if symptoms persists with medication.

Reference:

  1. http://www.ginasthma.org/documents/4

 

Last Reviewed : 23 May 2016
Writer : Dr. Kasuma bt. Mohd Nordin
Accreditor : Dr. Norhaya bt. Mohd Razali