It is necessary to retain good control of asthma, because asthma can lead to death. Children and adults who have had one or more severe, life-threatening asthma attacks (status asthmaticus) are at increased risk of death from asthma.
Also, if persons with asthma don’t follow their treatment strategies and they overuse quick-relief medicine, they may not ask for care when it is needed. This may increase their chances of having severe asthma attacks that could be life-threatening or cause death.
Other things that may increase the risk of death from asthma include:
- Not having a written asthma action plan.
- Prior need for a breathing tube (intubation) for asthma.
- Two or more hospital stays for asthma in the past year.
- Three or more visits to the emergency room in the past year.
- A stay in the hospital or an emergency room visit for asthma in the past month.
- Not being able to tell whether breathing is becoming worse.
- Use of illegal drugs.
- Living in poverty.
- Having a serious mental illness.
- Having another health problem, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or cardiovascular disease.
- Allergy to a certain kind of outdoor mold (Alternaria)
National Institutes of Health (2007). National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (NIH Publication No. 08–5846). Available online: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/asthgdln.htm.