Dangerous Side Effects of Uncontrolled Asthma

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Last Updated: Jan 16, 2018

Asthma is a chronic illness, which means a combination of measures are needed to keep it in check. Patients who develop an asthma treatment plan in partnership with their health care providers and who experience symptoms no more than twice a week are often considered to have the disease under control. When asthma is not well-controlled, dangerous side effects can result. Here are six serious health consequences of uncontrolled asthma.

Airway Remodeling

When asthma is not well-controlled, scarring of the airway can result in permanent changes to their structure. These changes mean that conventional asthma medications are no longer effective, leading to near-constant struggles with daily shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, and fatigue. Permanent disability often results.


When asthma is uncontrolled, it causes physical limitations that make regular exercise difficult. Those who lead a sedentary lifestyle may become overweight or obese, which can lead to a host of other long-term health complications and associated chronic illness.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Those with uncontrolled asthma are at higher risk for this serious chronic lung disease. This is especially true for people with asthma who smoke. COPD can cause serious disability and difficulty breathing, making it even harder to handle asthma.

Pulmonary Disease


Uncontrolled asthma can severely limit quality of life, making it difficult to go out and do activities you once enjoyed. This isolation often leads to depression. It’s important to not only work with your regular doctor, but also specialists to help you overcome this.

Additional Lung Complications

Asthma leaves you more susceptible to lung infections like pneumonia as well as collapse of one or both lungs (pneumothorax). In some cases, uncontrolled asthma causes respiratory failure, a dangerous condition in which there is too much carbon dioxide or not enough oxygen in the blood.

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Your asthma may be uncontrolled if you experience symptoms that require you to use your rescue inhaler more than twice a week. Other signs of uncontrolled asthma include coughing at night, frequent corticosteroid use, low peak flow measurements, and a general inability to function at your typical level. If any of these symptoms are familiar, talk with your doctor about developing an asthma action plan to help keep the disease under control. This should include detailed steps to take if you have an asthma attack, including medications to take and triggers to avoid. You may also benefit from an Aerospan RX, so be sure to ask your doctor about this option. You should also get vaccinated against influenza and pneumonia, as these can trigger asthma flare-ups. Following your action plan and identifying and treating attacks early can help keep your asthma from worsening.

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