What is the prognosis of asthma?

Updated: Oct 07, 2019
  • Author: John J Oppenheimer, MD; Chief Editor: Michael A Kaliner, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Signs that may indicate a poor prognosis in asthma (ie, risk factors for death) are as follows:

  • Severe exacerbations - Intubation, ICU stay, 2 or more hospitalizations per year, 3 or more urgent clinic or emergency department visits per year

  • More than 2 short-acting beta-2 agonist MDIs per month

  • Glucocorticoid dependence

  • Poor patient perception of airflow obstruction

  • Significant medical comorbidities

  • Psychiatric disease

  • Illicit drug use

  • Sensitivity to Alternaria species (an outdoor mold)

Females, ethnic minorities, people with a low annual family income (defined as less than $20,000/y in the United States), and persons with poor access to or education about health care have worse outcomes than do other individuals.

Many young children “outgrow” asthma, especially boys who have no personal or family history of atopy. However, clinical experience shows that many teenagers who become asthma-free may experience asthma again in their 20s and 30s. Perinatal exposure to allergens or passive smoke has been postulated to make outgrowing asthma less likely.


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