- Death: more than 1400 people died of asthma in the UK in 2002. On average, one person dies of asthma every 7 hours [Asthma UK, 2006]. Asthma accounts for one of every 250 deaths worldwide [Rees, 2006].
- Respiratory complications: pneumonia, pulmonary collapse (atelectasis caused by mucus plugging of the airways), respiratory failure, pneumothorax, and status asthmaticus (repeated asthma attacks without respite, or non-response to appropriate treatment).
- Growth and pubertal delay in children may be a direct result of chronic disease or secondary to use of inhaled corticosteroids or repeated short courses of systemic steroids. The growth-suppressive effects of the latter may be relatively short-lived [Wolthers, 2002; Doull, 2004].
- Impaired quality of life may result from suboptimal control of asthma. This may include:
- Underperformance and time off school or work. Asthma accounts for at least 12.7 million work days lost each year in the UK [Asthma UK, 2006].
- Psychological problems, including stress, anxiety, and depression [Opolski and Wilson, 2005]. Children may experience social exclusion because they cannot participate in activities and sports.
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