What Happens if Asthma in Children Goes Untreated? – Craig Nakamura, MD – Pediatric Pulmonologist

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , /

Well, the most
obvious is death. I mean, we do see a handful
of teenagers in Nevada pass away from asthma. And that’s real difficult
because asthma is something that can be controlled. And so you don’t hear
about a lot of deaths, but up to over 4500
deaths across the USA– across the board from infants
all the way to elderly. But we do see it. And it really hits home
when you do see teenagers come in dying from asthma. I often get called
by the donor network in order to check the lungs
after someone passes away from asthma, in order to
see if the lungs themselves are suitable to be donated. So that’s the most
obvious complication. Then there’s admissions–
hospital admissions. Well, if someone
is admitted, they don’t realize that in
pediatrics the parents have to take off work,
which is lost productivity for the company, lost
income for the parents, possibly affecting
even their job if they have to
miss so many days. Then the child misses school. There’s all these secondary
losses from asthma itself. And then looking at the
bigger picture, in the child himself, if you don’t
treat inflammation– if you keep rubbing
it, it will get red, and after a while it
will start oozing, you eventually get a
scab, and then a scar. So same thing happens
within the lungs. If you keep on
going inflammation and leave it
untreated, that could lead to scar tissue and
permanent changes over time. Like a typical
untreated asthmatic will have less than 30%
to 40% lung capacity when they’re in
their 50s and 60s, when they hit retirement age.

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