Severe Asthma: Risks, Symptoms, Treatment

Most severe asthma attacks, and the resulting deaths, can be avoided.

This FAQ will introduce you to severe asthma and its risk factors.

Risk Factors of Severe Asthma

Women of a significant age are at a higher risk of developing severe asthma. Those living in poor living conditions and in lower socio-economic classes are more likely to suffer from severe asthma attacks than their more affluent counterparts.

Most cases of severe asthma attacks occur in people who do not have an appropriate treatment, do not take their medication correctly, or who are poorly managed. Some attacks happen as a result of poor patient compliance and the refusal of patients to accept their asthmatic condition. This means that medication and treatment plans are not followed, causing symptoms to spiral out of control.

Smokers and those who suffer from obesity or cardiovascular issues are also at a higher risk of developing severe asthma.

Symptoms of Life-Threatening Asthma

At the time of a severe attack, patients find it very difficult to breathe and talking is difficult. The heart rate increases, and an inability to get enough air into the lungs causes the lips and fingers to become blue. Some asthmatics do not show any other symptoms other than a severe breathlessness or great fatigue.

Diagnosis of Severe Asthma

Doctors sometimes cannot hear any wheezing during medical examinations, which could mean that there is no air entry into the lungs.

Doctors diagnose a severe attack by examining the patients, including measuring their lung function with a peak flow (PF) meter. When the PF reading is 60% below the patients best reading, then an emergency ambulance and hospital admission is required.

Image: © sumroeng chinnapan -
Ask a question
CCM is a leading international tech website. Our content is written in collaboration with IT experts, under the direction of Jeff Pillou, founder of CCM reaches more than 50 million unique visitors per month and is available in 11 languages.


This document, titled « Severe Asthma: Risks, Symptoms, Treatment », is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM Health (