One of my colleagues (whose husband is a doctor) printed off an article for me that was titled "Two thirds of deaths from asthma are preventable, confidential inquiry finds." It's from the British Medical Journal.
It's a little scary to think that people are dying from asthma attacks just because they aren't managing their disease. I think people don't realize that you can die from an asthma attack. It is rare, but if you or a family member die from asthma, it's a BIG deal. Most people think "I'll just take my inhaler - and I'll be fine."
This study found that 2 out of 3 deaths from asthma could have been prevented by:
- better management including personal asthma plans for patients (asthma action plans)
- timely reviews of asthma care
- prescription of more appropriate drugs (too many are relying on a rescue inhaler)
The really scary part of the study says that of those who died from an asthma attack, 45% of them had not asked for medical help. The researchers said that the people who died didn't realize how sick they were until it was too late. When they looked at a group of youth ages 10 - 19, they found that 70% of children and 83% of youth died before they reached the hospital.
The interesting thing about this study is that is showed that only 39% of the patients who died had severe asthma. The majority of people who died had mild or moderate asthma. Many of those people were only using a rescue (or reliever) inhaler to treat their asthma attack. They weren't using a daily maintenance medication.
Asthma Doc has told us repeatedly that a rescue inhaler "will only buy you a little time." You have to find out WHY you are having asthma attacks (what is triggering or causing your asthma attacks?) And you may need a daily medication to keep the swelling down in your lungs. Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America explains that you shouldn't use your rescue/reliever inhaler more than twice a week. If you need it more often than that, your asthma is NOT controlled, and you will need a daily, maintenance medication.
PLEASE call your pediatrician/family doctor/asthma specialist if you are not sure what to do about your asthma. And if you are relying on just a rescue/reliever inhaler, that could be a deadly mistake.
Every day in America:
- 44,000 people have an asthma attack.
- 36,000 kids miss school due to asthma.
- 27,000 adults miss work due to asthma.
- 4,700 people visit the emergency room due to asthma.
- 1,200 people are admitted to the hospital due to asthma.
- 9 people die from asthma.
My youngest two teenagers are a little better now, but when they were younger, they were hospitalized 14 times for asthma. And Son #2 almost died twice. It can happen. I never want to experience that again as long as I live. I still have flashbacks about that time. :(
Please be careful and call your doctor for a check up to make sure you or your child are taking the right medication for you or your child's asthma.