Asthma Essay Research Paper ASTHMA

Asthma Essay, Research Paper


“Asthma is a respiratory disease in which spasm and constriction of the bronchial passages and swelling of their mucous lining cause obstruction of breathing.” (Anastasiow 1997)

Etiology: ” This disease is often due to allergies, such as dust, smoke, cold air, exercise, animal fur or feathers, molds, and pollen. Allergic asthma is also called atopic or extrinsic asthma. Many people with allergic asthma also suffer from hay fever, which is an allergic reaction, usually to airborne pollen, of the upper respiratory tract and the eyes, characterized by nasal discharge, sneezing, and itchy watery eyes.” (Encarta 1997) Asthma in adults is less likely to be caused by allergies. Non-allergic asthma is called intrinsic asthma.

The frequency and the extreme in which asthma symptoms occur vary from one person to another. Most attacks occur at night, beginning with coughing or wheezing and shortness of breath, but in some people a dry cough may be the only symptom. This may be partially due to the fact that you stay in your room sleeping for eight hours at a time. Dust mites collect in your bedding, curtains, pillows and rugs. To avoid this, you should have your mattress and pillows sealed in a plastic covering, no curtains and you should have hard wood floors in your bedroom, instead of rugs or carpets.

” Office Visits: From 1975 to 1993-1995, the estimated annual number of office visits for asthma more than doubled, from 4.6 million to 10.4 million. Increasing rates were evident among all race, both sexes, and all age groups.

Emergency Room Visits: Data for emergency room visits are from 1992-1995. Over this period, the national rate of emergency room visits for asthma only changed by 1.8 million visits.

Hospitalization: Between 1979-1980 and 1993-1994, the estimated national number of asthma – related hospitalization increased from 386,000 to 466,000. Hospitalization rates for asthma were consistently higher among blacks than they were among whites. During 1988 – 1994, asthma hospitalization rates increased in the Northeast but decreased in the West and Midwest. Asthma hospitalization rates were highest among people 0-4 years of age, and lowest among people 15-34 years of age.

Mortality: Complications of severe asthma can sometimes result in death. Although this is rare, the number of asthma cases and asthma – related deaths increased by 40 percent between 1982 and 1995. The cause for this increase is unknown. ”

(Mannino 1998)

Asthma Attacks: may recur in hours or days or may not reoccur for months or even years. Status asthmatics, a prolonged attack that continues despite treatment with prescribed drugs, is a severe and sometimes fatal form of an asthma attack.

Treatments: ” Asthma treatment has two important goals:

1.) Keeping symptoms from starting in the first place. The best way to do this is to always follow your asthma management plan that your physician developed for you as an individual. You need to follow this plan even when you don’t have any asthma symptoms. For example, skin testing by an allergist may determine your allergies, and periodic desensitizing injections of small amounts of these substances over several years may be helpful. Bronchial dilators, anti-inflammatory, and steroid medications can help prevent attacks. Skills involved with the use of inhaled medication, nebulizers, and the use of peak flow meters, (an early warning device) control things that trigger asthma attacks, and having occasional pulmonary function test, (measures airflow in the lungs) can also be beneficial treatments to control asthma attacks.

2.) Spotting symptoms that are getting worse before they get bad is another asthma treatment as a goal. This allows you to treat the symptoms early, when they are the easiest to control. ” (Morain 1999)

New Treatment: ” Leukotriene antagonist – block leukotriene chemicals released from allergic cells which cause spasms of the airways. It’s accolade and marked by Smith – Kline. Only administrated twice a day with no significant side effects.

Zileuton – required administration four times a day and has been associated with liver function abnormalities, and the patient must be monitored. ” (Randolph, 1999) The cost of these two pills are comparable, and are for the use of people who do not like to use bronchial dilator inhalers.

Prognosis: Most asthma patients can live a long and fulfilled life under the advice of their physician, and their personal asthma management plan. Although there are few cases of death during asthma attacks, they are the exception more than the “norm.”

Educational and Medical Programs:

? Links to Asthma Education materials on the Internet.

? American Academy of allergy and Asthma

? Pulmonary specialist

? Mayo Health Oasis Publications and Clinics

? Doctor’s Offices

? Books ( Get yourself educated on your disease )

? Hospitals that give free clinics on asthma and how to manage it.

? Journals from the American Lung Association.



Abramowicz, M. (1993 – 1997). An overview [Abstract]. Asthma,

Bronchial. Retrieved March 14, 1999, from Microsoft ? Encarta ? 98

Encyclopedia. ? 1993 – 1997 Microsoft

Anastasiow, NJ, Gallagher, JJ. , & Kirk, S.A. (1997). Educating exceptional children:

(8th ed.). New York, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Mannino, D.M., Ashizawa, A., & Ball, L.B. (1998) An overview [Abstract] Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention: Asthma Information Center Vol. 47, no ss – 1 Retrieved February 27, 1999 from the AMA:


Morain, Claudia. (1999) An overview [Abstract] Understanding Asthma Patients and

Their Friend. Retrieved February 27. 1999, from the JAMA:

Randolph, Christopher. M.D. (1999). The sneeze gazette. American academy of allergy

and immunology.

The American Heritage College Dictionary (3rd ed.). (1993). Boston: Houghton Mifflin



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