Asthma Essay, Research Paper
A Lung Dysfunction
Asthma is a disease in the lungs, resulting in a shortness of breath. It
involves feelings of breathlessness, and wheezing. Wheezing is a whistling
sound from the chest when breathing in or out. People also may feel
suffocation and shortness of breath, when experiencing an asthma attack.
Asthma sufferers usually breathe normally, and attacks are unwarranted and
usually by surprise. It is estimated that 1 out of 20 people have asthma, but 1
out of 10 children have it. Asthma is a disease where no apparent reason can
be given for its surfacing. It is intrinsic. Asthma usually goes away with age,
but it can occur in adults of any age.
The most common type of asthma is allergic bronchial asthma it is
usually caused by allergies. Allergies are things such as dust, mold, pollen, or
certain foods. Asthma attacks can also be triggered by periods of physical or
emotional strain, as well as a head or sinus infection. A sudden change in the
whether can also bring an attack. Usually asthmatics have a certain season
when they have attacks, and they usually have them periodically through the
year. An asthma attack can be defined as a partial blockage of the small
bronchial tubes in the lungs. The blocking results from a spasm or a
contraction in the bronchial muscles, from a swelling of the mucous
membranes that line these muscles, and the production of phlegm, or mucous.
This all results in a narrowing of the airways, which is responsible for the
shortness of breath, the feeling of tightness, and the weezing, all felt during an
Although asthma can affect people of all ages, it is usually diagnosed and
treated at an early age. A physician in likely to give an allergy test to
determine what the patient is allergic to, as well as a blood gas, or a chest
X-ray. When the allergy?s are determined a patient may be given an allergy
shot. These are shots which contain a small amount of the known allergy,
they are meant to desensitize the person to the allergy. In most cases these are
found to be ineffective. In mild cases people may use oral inhalers, such as
Azmacort, Vanceril, or AeroBid. These are inhaled corticosteroids, they help
by reducing mucous production, reducing inflammation, and slowing
breathing. In mild to severe cases patients may use anti-inflammatory
medications (as listed) and bronchodilators, such as Alupent or Vanceril. In
severe or acute cases steroids, nedocromil sodium, or cromolyn sodium may
be used, as well as oxygen treatments and hospitalization may be necessary.
Although medication is very helpful in the treatment of asthma, it is still
an incurable disease. But with proper care, such as staying away from known
allergens, pets, and cigarette smoke, a person can lead a almost normal life.
People usually out grow asthma, and the treatments are improving daily.
There might even be a long term cure for asthma sometime in the near future.
1. Excite.com, medical encyclopedia. Keyword ?Asthma.?
2. Compton?s Interactive Encyclopedia. 1996.