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The Meaning of High Risk Asthma

By Jeffrey Sterling, MD July 17, 2019

Introduction

This post answers a question related to the meaning of high-risk asthma. Read this post for basics about asthma triggers and symptoms. Read this post for basics about asthma control and treatment.

high-risk asthma

High-Risk Asthma Kills

If you have an asthmatic in your life, it’s important to know that asthmatics die.  The risk of death is higher in certain asthmatics. If you or your loved one is in this subset of asthmatics, you really must be diligent in avoiding those triggers that cause asthma attacks. You must also be attentive and consistent in taking your ‘controller’ medicines.
These circumstances define a high risk asthmatic:

  • A history of sudden severe asthma attacks
  • Prior need to be intubated (placed on a respiratory aka breathing machine)
  • Prior admission to a hospital ICU (intensive care unit)
  • Greater than one admission or two ER visits in the past year
  • An ER visit within the last month
  • Needing to use two or more inhalers per month
  • Current or recent oral steroid use
  • Illicit drug use
  • Concomitant cardiopulmonary or psychosocial disease

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