Complications of bronchial asthma

Bronchial asthma is characterized by increased production of viscous sputum and periodic bouts of coughing, which is a consequence of bronchospasm and swelling, occur under the influence of provoking factors. Chronic impairment of bronchial patency leads to the development of compensatory mechanisms, which are aimed at maximizing ventilation of the lungs and supplying tissues with oxygen. Gradually, the reserve capabilities weaken, while the complications of asthma affect not only the respiratory system, but also affect other body systems. The consequences are especially pronounced in people suffering from a hormone-dependent form of the disease, since drugs of the glucocorticosteroid series gradually lead to addiction and require a constant increase in dosage.

Types of consequences

The most common complications of asthma are the effects of the respiratory system. A decrease in pulmonary ventilation and an increase in resistance in the bronchi lead to a violation of physiological functions and become the cause of the formation of secondary pathology. All complications can be conditionally divided into acute and chronic:

  • The first type of disorder develops in a short time, rapidly progresses and directly threatens the patient’s life, therefore, requires urgent therapy.
  • Chronic complications are formed for a long time as a result of profound changes and are accompanied by structural and functional disorders, but at the same time give time to make a decision and choose a treatment regimen.

The consequences of bronchial asthma are easier to prevent, so it is important to take medications prescribed by a doctor and undergo diagnostic procedures in a timely manner.


A direct threat to life as a result of acute complications requires competent recognition, quick response and first aid to asthmatics. Regardless of the type of pathology, all the consequences of this group are characterized by a similar pathogenesis, when, due to impaired lung function, the body experiences a sharp lack of oxygen. The main task, which is determined based on the presumptive diagnosis, is the speedy restoration of respiratory ability, improvement of bronchial patency, getting rid of edema and normalization of the respiratory system. In addition, asthmatics who are drug addicts should always carry first aid supplies or have a doctor’s record with them.

Attachment of an infection in asthma can cause inflammation of the lung tissue. Against the background of chronic stagnation, conditions for the reproduction of pathogenic microflora are created in the lungs. Typical signs of pneumonia – high fever, weakness, shallow breathing, pallor or cyanosis of the skin – indicate the onset of the disease. The bacterial or viral nature of pneumonia determines further treatment tactics. The main task is the rapid detection of the disease and urgent hospitalization of the patient. In the elderly and children, pneumonia is especially difficult, since their body reacts sharply to a lack of oxygen and is less resistant to the infectious process.

Spontaneous pneumothorax

The pleural cavity that surrounds the lungs serves as a protective sheath and regulates pressure drops. Spontaneous pneumothorax is one of the most dangerous complications of asthma. When the inner layer of the pleura ruptures, the incoming air enters the cavity, putting pressure on the lungs and leading to their compression. Symptoms of pneumothorax – acute pain in the affected half of the chest, wheezing, cyanosis of the skin and the forced position of the patient on his side – indicate the need for urgent action. At the initial stage, acute pain should be stopped using available anesthetic means, and then the access of air should be facilitated as much as possible. Since this complication is fatal, it is very important to quickly deliver a person to a medical facility.


Asthma is accompanied by an increased production of thick and viscous mucus, which leads to increased stress on the bronchi. As a result of prolonged stretching of the bronchial structures, protrusion occurs in the most vulnerable place. In this depression, sputum accumulates, which gradually blocks the lumen of the bronchus. Bronchiectasis often complicates the course of chronic bronchitis, and also becomes a consequence of allergic bronchial asthma. Typical symptoms of atelectasis are acute pain, shortness of breath, cyanosis of the skin, pronounced wheezing and a semi-sitting position of the patient. These manifestations resemble a prolonged asthma attack, and the main difference is the impossibility of stopping with the usual drugs.

Acute respiratory failure

A sharp decrease in oxygen supply due to narrowing of the bronchi, sputum blockage or as a result of damage to lung tissue leads to acute respiratory failure. In children, the course is more severe than in adults, and in pregnant women it can cause intrauterine fetal death. This condition threatens human life, progresses rapidly and requires urgent assistance. To eliminate respiratory failure, drugs are used to expand the bronchi or resort to emergency surgery.

Asthmatic status

The complication often develops at night, when the motor function of the bronchi decreases, and can also be triggered by exposure to an allergen. Status asthma resembles a prolonged and severe asthma attack, in which the use of conventional asthma medicine becomes useless, more often develops in adults. The complication is accompanied by severe hypoxia, in which the tissues of the brain, heart and internal organs suffer, therefore, to provide assistance, it is required to quickly restore the flow of oxygen to the lungs. Relief of status asthmaticus is possible with the use of fast-acting hormonal drugs.

Upper respiratory tract infections

People with this disease are especially susceptible to infectious and inflammatory diseases of the respiratory system. A banal cold or flu is often the cause of the development of complications that lead to impaired respiratory function. A child or an elderly person, exposed to a viral or cold infection, should be under the close attention of doctors until he is completely cured.


Bronchial asthma is a chronic disease that is accompanied by inevitable changes. Chronic complications do not belong to emergency conditions, but over time they worsen the quality of human life and lead to disruption of the functioning of internal organs. First of all, the lungs are affected, since the excessive load on the bronchi disrupts physiological functions. Proper treatment and careful attention to your own health can slow down negative reactions.

A decrease in pulmonary ventilation leads to pathological changes at the tissue level. Part of the parenchyma is replaced by connective tissue structures, as a result of which the ability to process oxygen is further reduced. A person suffers from constant coughing, shortness of breath, weakness. The main principle of the treatment of pneumosclerosis is to maintain the vital capacity of the lungs.

Emphysema of the lungs

One of the compensatory mechanisms that is formed as a result of bronchial narrowing is the expansion of the lower part of the bronchial tree. The increased load leads to the destruction of the alveoli and the ventilation capacity of the lungs decreases. A patient with emphysema is prescribed medications to relieve the main symptoms, the main of which is a cough outside the attack and oxygen deficiency.

Lung hyperinflation

In bronchial asthma, the main disorders relate to the ventilation function, namely the weakening of breathing. The accumulation of oxygen residues leads to an increase in the volume of the lungs, due to which the overstretching of the parenchymal tissue occurs. The pathogenesis of the formation of hyperinflation is well studied, but there are no effective ways to solve this problem, therefore the patient is provided with symptomatic assistance aimed at alleviating the condition.


Bronchial asthma leads not only to problems with the respiratory system. Extrapulmonary complications develop later, when the duration of the disease exceeds 5 years or more.

Long-term consequences:

  • After 3-4 years, due to chronic respiratory failure, brain tissue begins to suffer, vision deteriorates, and the load on the heart and blood vessels increases.
  • The feeling of one’s own inferiority and fear of suffocation often leads to mental problems, becomes the cause of the loss of professional skills and ability to work.
  • Taking medications negatively affects the functioning of the kidneys and liver, and also often leads to hormonal disruptions.

It is necessary to treat bronchial asthma in a timely manner, without neglecting the basic principles of prevention. An attentive attitude to health will help reduce the risks of complications and maintain a habitual lifestyle as much as possible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *