While living with asthma certainly isn’t pleasant or care-free, for most of the people affected, the condition is rather manageable with the correct treatment. The combination of proper medication and certain lifestyle changes is proven to be beneficial to a vast percentage of patients. However, if the management of the condition is lacking, there is an increased risk of complications and manifestation of additional health issues.

Here we will explore some of the possible complication and long-term effects asthma can have on an individual’s general health and wellbeing. Where information on the precautions and treatment is available, we will try to provide some insight into the available possibilities.

What’s on this page?

Airway remodelling

Airway remodelling is a term used to denote structural changes of the airways and the appearance of scars on the lungs.1 These adverse and harmful changes can be caused by long-term inflammation of the lungs, eventually evolving into chronic cough and in most severe cases, partial loss of lung function.

However, this condition is very rare and occurs only in the most severe asthmatics who haven’t managed their condition properly over long periods of time. Proper medication and timely treatment are very successful practices that can help in preventing the onset of this condition. If left untreated, this condition can become irreversible, making symptoms such as lack of breath an everyday occurrence.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD for short, is an umbrella term denoting a number of different, yet closely related lung conditions. These diseases are marked by breathing problems caused by the obstruction of the airways in one way or another.2 The most common conditions classified found at the root of COPD are:

  • Emphysema
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive airways disease

While COPD can cause severe breathing problems and symptoms similar to asthma, the two should not be confused, since they belong to completely different categories of pulmonary diseases. More specifically, asthmatics who experience flare up of symptoms still have a relatively normal lung function whereas in COPD the lung function remains continuously impaired.

While the two conditions are not closely related, people diagnosed with severe or difficult to control asthma have higher chances of developing COPD as the time goes by. Recurrence of chest infections and smoking are also classified as risk factors.

Lifestyle diseases

While it is highly advisable for asthmatics to remain physically active and exercise regularly (while taking the necessary precautions, of course), some might feel that their conditions is preventing them from their preferred everyday activities.

If this is the case, you should talk to your doctor and ask for advice and help for making a new asthma action plan or changing the medications so that you will be able to live normal and healthy life. The lack of physical activity will not only reduce the strength of the lungs, but also increase the risk of developing obesity or cardiovascular diseases.

In addition, avoiding regular physical activity can significantly increase the risk of obesity, which will in turn bring on a whole new array of diet-related diseases such as type-2 diabetes, stroke or coronary heart condition.

Mental health

Often underestimated in discussion of chronic health conditions, mental health must be mentioned here too. Not only can emotional wellbeing have a direct impact on the severity of asthma symptoms – asthma can also affect your mental health. Living with any chronic disease, no matter which one, is always a stress, even when you’re coping rather well with it. Anxiety and depression are not that uncommon in people affected by asthma and, in turn, these problems can bring on the worsening of asthma symptoms, creating a kind of a feedback loop.

Research conducted by none other than UK Department of Health itself3 concluded without doubt that mental health problems are more common in asthmatics than in otherwise healthy individuals.

In order to prevent this, it is vital to not only keep your asthma under control but also seek professional help, if the need for it occurs. Never ignore your emotional wellbeing as it is inseparably related to your overall health!


  1. Remodelling in Asthma – ATS Journals
  2. What is COPD? – COPD Foundation
  3. Strategy for COPD and asthma in England – UK Department of Health