Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is it possible to die from an asthma attack?"
I was recently diagnosed with asthma and I now use an inhaler when I feel like I am having an attack. What might happen if I don't have my inhaler? Is it possible to die from an asthma attack? What are the other risks involved with having asthma?
Asthma is a complex disease, because in some people it can be very mild and in other people it can be serious. When asthma is serious, it can be life threatening, and there are definitely cases of death from an acute asthma attack in young people who are otherwise completely healthy. For this reason, it is important to take your asthma seriously. Fortunately, the medications that are used to treat asthma are very effective. However, they must be taken exactly as prescribed, and they have to be followed up on frequently with your primary care doctor. I suggest that you schedule a visit with your primary care doctor specifically to sit down and talk about your asthma management. One of the first things that needs to be determined is whether your asthma is well controlled or not well controlled (based on your breathing patterns, mostly). This will help determine if the inhaler you are taking now is sufficient or whether higher doses or additional medications might be needed. Your doctor will also work with you to develop an Asthma Action Plan, which will help you know what to do in the event that you start to have an asthma flare again.
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