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Asthma symptoms include a cough, wheezing, chest tightness and breathlessness.

Asthma symptoms include a cough, wheezing, chest tightness and breathlessness.
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Complications of asthma

1-minute read

Badly controlled asthma can have an adverse effect on your quality of life. The condition can result in:

  • fatigue
  • underperformance or absence from work
  • inability to exercise, leading to other health problems such as high blood pressure or weight gain
  • permanent problems with your lungs
  • repeated visits to hospital
  • psychological problems including stress, anxiety and depression
  • learning problems in children

If you feel that your asthma is seriously affecting your quality of life, contact your doctor. Your personal asthma action plan may need to be reviewed to better control the condition.

In rare cases, asthma can lead to a number of serious respiratory complications, including:

  • pneumonia (infection of the lungs)
  • a collapse of part or all of the lung
  • respiratory failure, where the levels of oxygen in the blood become dangerously low, or the levels of carbon dioxide become dangerously high
  • status asthmaticus (severe asthma attacks that do not respond to treatment)

All of these complications can be life-threatening and will need medical treatment.

Last reviewed: June 2018

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