Serving Maryland and Washington D.C. 301-870-1200

Misdiagnosis of Asthma and Overuse of Asthma Inhaler Can Lead to Significant Issues

An estimated 25.7 million people have been diagnosed with asthma, a common lung disorder involving the inflammation and swelling of the airways. Of the 25.7 million of people in the U.S. diagnosed with having asthma, 7 million are children. Generally with people who have asthma, the inflammation of the airways is usually triggered from inhaled particles, like allergens, viruses, second-hand smoke, chemicals, and molds. Those who are suffering from an asthma attack have such symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

What Causes Asthma?

Research has shown that asthma has a genetic component, but the exact cause of asthma has not been ascertained. 52% of those surveyed who have asthma have an immediate family member who also suffers from the condition. There have also been studies showing that infants and fetuses exposed to secondhand smoke and other allergens may be more likely to develop asthma as the exposure is hypothesized to affect the development of the immune system.

Prescription Medications and Frequency of Asthma Symptoms

Prescription medications in the form of inhalers are the predominant way to treat asthma. It has been estimated that two-thirds of all survey respondents experienced symptoms at least once a week. But, generally asthma sufferers are more likely to experience symptoms more frequently, sometimes at least two days per week. With the discomfort that many asthma sufferers feel throughout the week, especially seasonally when the asthma may be triggered more often, inhalers are being used more and more, sometimes posing a danger to the user.

Overuse of Asthma Inhalers and Albuterol

According to a recent study, over-reliance on an asthma inhaler can have damaging effects. First and foremost, inhalers can have a steroid component within the medication which can be dangerous if your body is overexposed to it. Second, the medication builds up within the system and can cause side effects such as nervousness, dizziness, headache, nausea, and irregular or rapid heart beart. Thirdly, inhalers are used to relax muscles within the airways to relieve or prevent the occurrence of asthma symptoms. Constant exposure to the inhaler could lead to your lungs to become under-responsive to the medication, and your airways could become hypersensitive to common asthma triggers. Finally, overuse of an inhaler could lead to the user only treating the symptoms and the underlying reason behind the triggering effect could make the person sicker.

Overuse of Albuterol Has Correlation With Depression and Lower Mental Functioning

Other studies have suggested that there is a correlation between overexposure to albuterol, the medication within the inhaler, and depression. The study found that of users of albuterol, 27% overused the drug, while 22% underused the drug. Of those who overused the albuterol, 45% used the inhalar on a daily basis. The overusers not only had more symptomatic days, but generally scored worse on the asthma control survey, the asthma symptom utility index, and the shortness of breath test. Additionally, overusers of albuterol had lower cognitive functioning than non-overusers. The study did not indicate whether it was the asthma and use of the albuterol that led to depression, or that depressive patients were more likely to perceive their asthma as being worse than others’ and therefore overused their albuterol.

Charles County, MD Personal Injury Lawyers that Fight for You

Asthma and its symptoms can cause serious distress for those who suffer from it. When asthma symptoms are actually resulting from another disorder, the patient may be harmed by overuse of an asthma inhaler and the disorder may not be treated in time. If you or a loved one has suffered from the harmful effects of asthma misdiagnosis, it is important to consult with an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney. Please call the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at (301) 804-2312 for a confidential consultation.