Can Asthma Be Fatal?

Many people think of asthma as being mostly a nuisance disease that sometimes makes it hard to breathe.
Or, they may realize it is a serious condition but may be unaware that it can be fatal. In fact, 10 people in the United States die from asthma every day. However, asthma-related deaths are often preventable.

Home Care Services in Falls Church VA: Asthma Attacks

Home Care Services in Falls Church VA: Asthma Attacks


Risk Factors for Fatal Asthma

Every time your aging relative has an asthma attack, there is the potential for it to lead to death. Even people who have mild or intermittent asthma symptoms can die. The first step in knowing whether an older adult could possibly die from their asthma is knowing what the risk factors are. One thing you should watch for is progressively worsening symptoms. Between 80 and 85 percent of people who die from asthma had a progression of symptoms anywhere from 12 hours before their death to 6 weeks before. Only 10 to 15 percent of people die within 6 hours of symptoms developing. If you notice that asthma symptoms are getting worse, it’s important to take your aging relative to the doctor.


Other risk factors that can lead to an asthma-related fatality are:

  • Having had a bad asthma attack in the past that nearly caused them to die.
  • Poorly controlled asthma.
  • Having been admitted to the hospital 2 or more times for asthma or seeking emergency medical care for asthma 3 or more times.
  • Going through 2 or more canisters of inhaler medication in a month.
  • Having trouble knowing when an asthma attack is starting.
  • Significant mental health problems.
  • Other serious medical conditions, including heart attack or other diseases of the lungs.


Symptoms of an Asthma Attack

The next step in preventing a fatal asthma attack is being able to recognize when an asthma attack is happening so that it can be treated immediately. Symptoms of an asthma attack include:

  • Wheezing that is severe and happens when the older adult breathes in and out.
  • Persistent coughing.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Feeling tightness or pressure in the chest.
  • Trouble talking because of breathing problems.
  • Paleness and sweating.
  • Lips and fingernails that appear blue in color.
  • An asthma attack may not respond to the use of a rescue inhaler. If the symptoms do not get better, call 911.

An elder care provider can help your aging relative to better manage their asthma and prevent an asthma-related death.

Elder care providers can remind them to take medications for the condition. An elder care provider can also help to watch for progressively worsening symptoms. In addition, if the older adult has an asthma attack, an elder care provider can call for emergency help, if needed.


Are you or a loved-one considering hiring Home Care Services in Falls Church, VA?  Please call the caring staff at Medical Professionals On Call today. Contact: 703-273-8818





Michelle DeFilippis