Health & Medical Allergies & Asthma

Complications from an Asthma Attack

    Chronic Wheezing

    • According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the major complications of asthma is chronic wheezing. Wheezing occurs when the bronchial tubes in the lungs are not fully expanded and the lungs cannot get enough air. This can usually be controlled with regular use of a bronchial dilator, which may include a steroid. Steroids often help reduce the inflammation that inhibits the expansion of the bronchial tubes. This is important for athletes who may be subject to drug testing that may prohibit the use of steroids, since they may test positive, particularly if exercise is one of their triggers for an asthma attack.

    Sleep Problems

    • Asthma attacks can often cause sleep problems. Children frequently have asthma attacks at night when they are sleeping; this can also happen with adults. According to the Mayo Clinic, danger signs of an oncoming attack include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Even after an attack and after using an emergency inhaler, these symptoms can be problematic.

    Increased Medical Visits

    • According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the substantial complications from an asthma attack is the increased need for medical attention, including visits to the doctor and emergency room. Increased medical attention not only increases medical costs, but also is an indication of the increasing severity of the illness. Asthma can become a progressive illness and should be carefully monitored using a peak flow meter to measure the amount of air flow to the lungs. After a severe asthma attack, peak flow can become severely and dangerously impaired.

    Permanent Airway Changes

    • Permanent changes to a person's airway passages can result from asthma. According to the Mayo Clinic, as the bronchial tubes become more and more narrow after each attack, a person is able to take in less and less air. This eventually becomes extremely dangerous, as air is a necessity for life and health. Children who have asthma should be carefully monitored, since they may have a variety of asthma triggers. In the early stages of the illness, it is important to chart what was happening at the time of an attack and what may have triggered it, whether it is pollen, exercise, food or a specific environment. This information can help avoid future attacks.

    Medication Side Effects

    • Long-term side effects from the use of asthma medications can cause complications. According to the Mayo Clinic, long- term use of modern low-dose corticosteroids is much more effective than in the past, but over time the body can become immune to these steroids. They may become ineffective and the medication may need to be changed for more effective treatment.

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