Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Death of Young Model Shows Importance of Good Asthma Control

Category: Lagniappe - a little extra


Recently the death of a beautiful young 17 year old model was reported. Krissy Taylor was the younger sister of super model Niki Taylor. Krissy was found dead by her sister on July 2, at their family home. The cause of death was unknown until recently. 

Krissy was healthy and had no known history of medical problems including asthma. However, her body was found next to an over the counter asthma inhaler. The autopsy revealed that Krissy died of complications of asthma and a cardiac arrhythmia. Apparently she
had been suffering with shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. She had purchased the inhaler herself without telling her family or her health care provider. These types on inhalers have been known to cause cardiac arrhythmia. It is unfortunate that such a tragic event had to happen to remind us of the
importance of asthma treatment by a physician trained to treat asthma. This includes most generalists, family doctors, pediatricians, and internists. Allergists and pulmonologists specialize in asthma treatment, especially difficult cases.

Good asthma control requires two things; bronchodilation and treatment of the inflammation of the airways. This is obtained through prescription drugs available from your doctor, including bronchodilators such as albuterol, and anti-inflammatory spays such
as corticosteroids or cromolyn inhalers. There are also many other medications used on a regular or as needed basis for asthma. Over the counter inhalers such as the Primatene Mist that Krissy has used may temporarily reverse symptoms but may lead to an increased
heart rate and worsening of asthma symptoms several hours later, commonly called rebound. Investigation is now underway to determine whether these inhalers should still be made available over the counter, because of the dangerous side effects which are sometimes seen with them.

Krissy Taylor did not have to die. Her death should be used as a lesson to us all that good asthma control is imperative. If you are suffering from the common signs or symptoms of asthma, which are recurrent cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath, contact your health care provider and always follow their recommendations. 
Your health and well-being may depend on it.