People with asthma face a higher risk of pulmonary embolism than the general population, new research out of the Netherlands suggests.
What is Astham?
Asthma is an airway condition that has rapidly increased in prevalence over the last couple of decades. It is a chronic disease that involves the airways which allow air to come in and out of the lungs. The airways of a sufferer are always inflamed. They turn out to be more swollen and the muscles around the airways can tighten when something activates its symptoms, consequently making it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs. Similar to other chronic inflammatory (swelling) situations, severe asthma may be linked with lung blockages.
The dangers of a pulmonary embolism
A pulmonary embolism (PE) is a blockage in an artery in the lung, usually caused by a blood clot that travels to the lungs from elsewhere in the body — a complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or blood clot formation in deep veins of the body. Such blood clots often form in the lower extremities — the legs, for example. Without treatment to thin the blood and dissolve the clot, pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening when the clot causes the artery to balloon and then burst, causing internal bleeding.
According to several research projects, individuals with asthma (particularly with severe asthma) face a higher risk of developing an increased risk of developing pulmonary embolism (a complicated state of deep vein thrombosis), but also the pulmonary embolism is associated with disease exacerbations.
Certain asthma treatments can increase chances of PE
Recent scientific studies have also revealed that severe refractory (intractable) asthma can increase the risk of pulmonary embolism especially if chronic corticosteroids are utilized for asthma treatment. Refractory is a scenario whereby asthma sufferers undergo continuous symptoms, regular asthma attacks or even low lung performance in spite of using asthma medicines. The use of oral corticosteroids for severe asthma was according to research related with pulmonary embolism, although deep vein thrombosis was not. The risk was about nine times greater in patients with severe asthma compared to the general population.
How Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) forms
This is the forming of a blood clot right in a deep vein although they can develop in other regions of the body. DVT can partly or completely block the blood circulation to that particular part of the body, which brings about swelling and chronic pain. It can damage the valves in blood vessels, making it a challenge to walk. The primary concern of deep vein thrombosis is that a section of the clot could break away and navigate through the circulatory system and into the lung cavity. If such a thing were to happen the clot could result in a pulmonary embolism.
The most familiar warning signs of deep vein thrombosis include;
- Calf tenderness
- Feeling of tiredness in the legs
- Surface veins that are noticeable
- Swelling and
- Redness of the leg skin
On the other hand, the signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in chest
- Coughing up blood
The purpose of this blog is to draw asthma suffers to the link between this disorder and pulmonary embolism and for patients and their families to watch out for signs of this potentially fatal condition.