Sugarland Primary Care Physicians

How to Lower Your Risk for Asthma Complications

Jun 01, 2023
How to Lower Your Risk for Asthma Complications
Asthma is a condition that affects how you breathe, and millions of people struggle with the wheezing and shortness of breath that comes with it. Let’s look at ways to lower your risk and help avoid complications.

Asthma (also referred to as bronchial asthma) is a chronic breathing condition that makes it hard for you to breathe. Of the 26.5 million Americans (8.3%) that struggle with it, over 20 million are adults, and over 6 million are kids. This condition results in over 400,000 hospitalizations, 1.3 million emergency room visits, and over 3,500 deaths annually, and half of the people with asthma deal with at least one attack a year.

Asthma is an illness that can affect many different parts of your life, and lowering your risk for asthma attacks and their possible complications is important for your health. To examine how to accomplish this, let’s look at what asthma is, what problems can result from it, and what you can do to lower your chances of dealing with attacks and complications.

Dr. Chinwe Okafor and her medical team at Sugarland Primary Care Physicians can help you get relief if you live in the Sugarland, Texas area and are coping with asthma or some other chronic condition.

Defining asthma

Your body breathes by taking in air through your nose and mouth, where it travels into your trachea (windpipe) and finds its way into your lungs, which absorb the oxygen from the air. The oxygen makes its way to your heart through your alveoli (tiny sacs located in your air passages, or bronchioles), and your bloodstream carries carbon dioxide back to your lungs, which you exhale out of your body.

When suffering from asthma, your breathing can be affected during an attack by constricting the muscles in your airways (bronchospasm), swelling the lining of your airways (inflammation), and creating more mucus, which leads to clogging. These flare-ups can happen occasionally (intermittent) or regularly (persistent) and stem from allergic and non-allergic causes.

Complications of asthma 

Mild and moderate forms of asthma are generally easier to treat, but all types can have short-term and long-term problems:

Short-term complications

Breathing problems that come with this condition can directly affect your ability to do basic activities like walking, running, and other physical acts you need to do at work or school. In the case of severe attacks, breathing problems may be dire enough to warrant immediate medical attention if other treatment methods fail.

Long-term complications

Permanent narrowing of your airways is a potential long-term side effect of this breathing problem if untreated, referred to as airway remodeling. While severe cases are rare, some form of this happens with anyone struggling with asthma. Dealing with this long-term also raises your risk of anxiety and depression, as well as weight gain, sleep apnea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Methods to lower risk

Having some form of an asthma management plan is vital to keeping your symptoms under control and increasing your quality of life, including factors such as:

  • Minimizing contact with triggers: This is especially important if you have allergy triggers that cause your attacks, but overall, avoid things that cause a flare-up.
  • Taking medications as instructed: People often have at least two medications unless their asthma is very mild, and you should use them correctly for best results.
  • Looking for warning signs of an attack: This is not a condition with no warning signs; learn what to look for when you feel an attack coming on so you can treat it.
  • Having a plan when things get bad: Knowing what to do when you have an attack helps prevent a worst-case scenario, so work with your doctor to have a plan.

Having an action plan keeps you prepared when something happens and allows you to enjoy being active without symptoms, participate in activities with friends and loved ones, and avoid emergency visits to the hospital. It also helps you sleep better and perform tasks at work and school.

Asthma can affect your ability to enjoy life, but it doesn’t have to. Make an appointment with Dr. Okafor and Sugarland Primary Care Physicians today to get your asthma under control and live to the fullest.