We are all aware of the immediate symptoms that asthmatic patients experience and how to deal with them daily. However, you may be unaware that these symptoms can have a long-term negative impact on a patient’s health. This can include low tolerance for exercise, infections that recur, and bronchial tube narrowing. Believe it or not, asthma is a type of allergy that can have a long-term impact not only on your respiratory system but also on your general wellbeing and life quality.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for asthma. However, good asthma management is critical for feeling your best regularly. So let’s take a closer look at the long-term effects of asthma on health:
Side Effects from Medications
Long-term use of asthma medications can be harmful to one’s health. The following are some of the possible side effects:
- -throat problems
- -difficulty sleeping
- -yeast infections in the mouth
- -rapid heart rate
- -acid reflux
Remodeling of the Airway
When the airway is inflamed for an extended period, the structure of the bronchial tubes can be permanently altered. This includes both tissues and structural cells. Modifications of the airway can result in the following:
- -disruption of lung function
- -increase in diameter of the airway wall
- -persistent coughing
- -increase in production of mucus
- -rise in the supply of blood in the lungs
Patients with severe asthma are at significant risk for respiratory failure. This will occur when there is a lack of oxygen available in the lungs and blood. Although life-threatening asthma is uncommon, it is characterized by symptoms that worsen over time.
Respiratory failure can be fatal if not treated promptly. Unfortunately, every year, over 4,000 people die as a result of asthma in the United States. The majority of deaths, however, are avoidable with appropriate care.
Less Tolerance for Exercise
When the muscles in the airway become constrained, it causes chest tightness, difficulty breathing, coughing, and wheezing. Physical activity is frequently responsible for the onset of these symptoms. When the symptoms are chronic, it can lead to a decrease in tolerance for exercise.
Obesity, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and other health problems caused by a sedentary lifestyle can all be exacerbated by a lack of physical activity over time.
Increased Infection Susceptibility
Allergen sensitivity inflames the tissues of the airway, resulting in an asthma attack. This occurs as the body attempts to protect the lung tissues. In addition, it narrows the airway, making inhaling and exhaling difficult. Wheezing and chest tightness are symptoms of inflammation.
In asthma, inhaled corticosteroids are frequently prescribed to minimize inflammation. This is because ongoing inflammation can increase the likelihood of lung infections by allowing the infectious substance to become entangled in the lungs.
Scarring of the Lungs
Mucus production increases when the lungs are inflamed. This is caused by the release of cytokines by lung cells. Mucus can get stuck in the bronchial tube—the more severe the buildup, the narrower your airway. Coughing and wheezing are exacerbated as a result of this. It is critical not to dismiss mucus accumulation as a typical asthma symptom.
Infections, such as pneumonia, can be exacerbated by excessive mucus production. Recurrent infections can also cause serious complications, such as lung scarring or antibiotic resistance. Scarring is permanent and can result in long-term damage to the lungs.
Interrupt the Sleep Cycle
Asthma narrows the airways and can trigger nocturnal wheezing, sniffling, and difficulty breathing, possibly disrupting your ability to sleep. Sleep deprivation can worsen asthma symptoms. It can trigger inflammation and impairs lung function, making it more likely to have an asthma attack.
Complications During Pregnancy
Pregnant women with severe and unregulated asthma may develop serious medical problems that threaten both mom and baby. Hypertension, preeclampsia, restricted growth, low birth weight, and premature delivery are examples of these complications. Pregnancy failures can also be due to low fetal oxygen levels brought on by uncontrolled asthma.
As mentioned earlier, preeclampsia can also be a long-term effect of asthma. The following are symptoms of this condition:
- -rapid weight gain
- -pain in the abdomen
- -vomiting and nausea
- -vision issues
Unfortunately, asthmatic patients are more prone to acid reflux. The recurrent flow of stomach acid that invades the esophagus harms the throat lining and the airways to the lungs. This can cause breathing problems and persistent cough. In addition, frequent acid exposure causes the lungs to become sensitive to allergens like pollen and dust mites. These are considered asthma triggers. Consequently, it can further aggravate the symptoms.
Acid reflux also sets off a defensive nerve reflex. This specific reflex constricts the airways, preventing stomach acid from reaching the lungs. Asthmatic symptoms, including breathing difficulty, can result from constriction of the airways.
Acid reflux can not only aggravate asthma symptoms, but it can also have the opposite effect. In other words, acid reflux symptoms can be exacerbated by asthma. Acid reflux is aggravated by changes in pressure in the abdomen and chest. Furthermore, the intense pressure in the stomach caused by swollen lungs may cause the esophageal muscles to relax. This allows stomach acid to return to the esophagus.
Asthma makes exercise more difficult because it exacerbates its symptoms. This exhausts a person and prevents them from engaging in physical activity. Certain asthma medications have been linked to an increase in appetite. As a result, an increase in need combined with a lack of exercise promotes weight gain.
Hospitalization may be required if the asthma attack is severe. Either a nasal tube or face mask may be given to ensure you receive adequate amounts of oxygen in your lungs. You may also require steroids or other medications that are fast-acting. In extreme cases, a breathing tube may be inserted into the airway. This will aid in the retention of oxygen in your lungs. Thankfully, the majority of people who receive treatment make a full recovery from the most severe attacks.