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Is Asthma Life-Threatening?

About 25 million people in the United States have an asthma diagnosis, and 5.1 million of them are children younger than 18. Asthma can’t be cured, but it can be managed successfully here at First Pediatric Care Center in Gastonia, North Carolina. If your child has an asthma diagnosis, our pediatrician, Dr. Margaret Lubega, can help.

Asthma ranges in severity, but Dr. Lubega can help with all forms of the disease. While the condition can be controlled, it can also lead to life-threatening asthma attacks.

Here’s what you should know about asthma and the potential complications.

About asthma

You’ve certainly heard of asthma, but might not know exactly what it is. It’s a chronic condition, meaning it’s long-lasting and has no cure. It causes inflammation and swelling of the airways. People with asthma may also produce extra mucus. 

Symptoms of asthma include shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and coughing. 

Asthma may be present all the time or only show symptoms after certain triggers, like exercise or exposure to allergens.

Asthma severity

Many people with asthma have symptoms that are easily controlled with quick-relief and long-term controller medications. Some people are not so responsive to these treatments. They have a severe form of airway inflammation that is more difficult to treat. Only about 5-10% of all asthma sufferers have severe asthma.

Even severe asthma can be managed; it just requires more extensive medications and diligence in preventing or minimizing symptoms. Dr. Lubega customizes your child’s asthma according to their particular condition. 

Life-threatening asthma

Even though your child’s asthma is controlled and they can go on to live a perfectly normal life in most cases, you still need to respect the disease. Children with asthma are more likely to have asthma attacks as compared to adults.

Asthma commonly causes missed time from school, accounting for 13.8 million missed school days each year. But asthma can be more than a mere nuisance. 

Severe asthma attacks can lead to emergency room visits and, in some cases, even premature death. More than 300 children die from asthma complications each year. 

Notice the signs of uncontrolled asthma

Your child’s risk of complications increases if their asthma is uncontrolled. Signs of uncontrolled asthma include:

Even if your child is diligently following their treatment plan, their symptoms can worsen. Signs of worsening asthma include increased asthma symptoms, more frequent use of a quick-relief inhaler, and increased difficulty breathing as measured by a handheld device called a peak flow meter. 

If your child demonstrates signs of uncontrolled or worsening asthma, make an immediate appointment at our office for a treatment review. Dr. Lubega will want to make changes to your child’s plan to make sure their asthma is well-controlled and that their risk of serious complications is minimal.

Call us at First Pediatric Care Center if you have more questions about managing your child’s asthma or if you’re concerned that their condition needs more attention. We’ll get them an appointment right away to make sure their breathing is under control. 

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