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Monday, 13 June 2011
Fatal Asthma: Am I at Risk for a Fatal Asthma Attack?
Never Ignore the Severity of an Asthma Exacerbation
Determining your risk for a fatal asthma attack is important. Only 33% of asthma deaths occur in the hospital -- which means many asthma patients who die are either not seeking care or are not being hospitalized with their worsening asthma. Asthma exacerbations can be life threatening and can occur in anyone with mild to severe asthma.
Patients at high risk of asthma related death require intensive education and special care. Make sure you know if you are in one of the increased risk groups discussed below.
Importantly, 80 to 85% who die from asthma develop progressive symptoms anywhere from 12 hours to several weeks before death. Only 15 to 20% die in less than 6 hours after developing symptoms. Thus, the vast majority of patients dying from asthma developed symptoms in a time frame that would have allowed them to seek appropriate medical care.
Risk Factors for Asthma Related Death
All of the following are risk factors for asthma related death:
Previous history of a near-fatal asthma event
Recent poorly controlled asthma with increased shortness of breath, nocturnal awakenings, and rescue inhaler use
Prior severe asthma exacerbation where you were intubated or admitted to an intensive care unit.
Two or more asthma-related hospital admissions or three or more visits to the emergency room for asthma