Asthma – Life Threatening Disease

Asthma – Life Threatening DiseaseAsthma, a chronic lung disease, can often be underestimated by a few people, with the misconception that it does not qualify as a serious disease. It is serious; so serious that it can be life-threatening. Just in the United States, asthma has affected 16 million adults and 6 million children under the age of 18. Asthma ranks third in causing the hospitalization of children under 15 years of age. Furthermore, asthma affects all ages; but, it especially endangers the health and lives of the young who are already sickly, older people, and anyone with weakened immune systems. These factors increase the likelihood of more frequent, severe asthma attacks. Although technology and up-to-date research have ushered in better medications and improved treatment, the numbers of individuals who still die with this disease are alarmingly high. According to the Control Data Corporation (CDC) asthma causes about 5,000 deaths annually in the United States.

Unfortunately, asthma can never be cured. However, it certainly can be treated with medication and a well-prepared plan of treatment. With such proper treatment and with following the doctor’s orders, the asthmatic individual can often control the asthma and live a fairly normal life. But, the individual must never really let his or her guard down concerning asthma. For, in just minutes an asthma attack can strike and suddenly, life can be threatened.

smokingIn asthma, the airways or bronchial tubes of the lungs become inflamed from reacting to certain triggers. The list of triggers can be extensive, for example: allergens, such as dust, pollen, and pet dander; irritants, like tobacco smoke, paint fumes, and pollution; certain medicines, such as aspirin or ibuprofen; viral infections, like a cold or the flu; exercise, such as playing sports or running; strong emotions, like intense anger; and even weather, such as wind or colder temperatures. Exposed to any of these conditions, the airways can begin swelling. Then the muscles surrounding them will constrict and cause bronchospasm (spasmodic contraction of the smooth muscle of the bronchi). The chest begins to tighten, causing gasping for air, possibly wheezing, and severe coughing. Phlegm develops within the airways, causing them to grow tighter until breathing is difficult. This is the asthma attack, also known as a “flare-up” or an exacerbation (sudden worsening). Intervention becomes crucial, often in the form of a quick-relief medication such as a bronchodilator inhaler which is a drug that will relax the main air passages and ease breathing. In most cases the asthma symptoms may be mild enough to disappear with this “rescue” medication. However, if this does not immediately cause relief, then the asthmatic will need emergency treatment at the hospital.

See also  Asthma Pathophysiology

Asthma – Life Threatening DiseaseAsthma, a chronic lung disease, can often be underestimated by a few people, with the misconception that it does not qualify as a serious disease. It is serious; so serious that it can be life-threatening. Just in the United States, asthma has affected 16 million adults and 6 million children under the age of 18. Asthma ranks third in causing the hospitalization of children under 15 years of age. Furthermore, asthma affects all ages; but, it especially endangers the health and lives of the young who are already sickly, older people, and anyone with weakened immune systems. These factors increase the likelihood of more frequent, severe asthma attacks. Although technology and up-to-date research have ushered in better medications and improved treatment, the numbers of individuals who still die with this disease are alarmingly high. According to the Control Data Corporation (CDC) asthma causes about 5,000 deaths annually in the United States.

Unfortunately, asthma can never be cured. However, it certainly can be treated with medication and a well-prepared plan of treatment. With such proper treatment and with following the doctor’s orders, the asthmatic individual can often control the asthma and live a fairly normal life. But, the individual must never really let his or her guard down concerning asthma. For, in just minutes an asthma attack can strike and suddenly, life can be threatened.

smokingIn asthma, the airways or bronchial tubes of the lungs become inflamed from reacting to certain triggers. The list of triggers can be extensive, for example: allergens, such as dust, pollen, and pet dander; irritants, like tobacco smoke, paint fumes, and pollution; certain medicines, such as aspirin or ibuprofen; viral infections, like a cold or the flu; exercise, such as playing sports or running; strong emotions, like intense anger; and even weather, such as wind or colder temperatures. Exposed to any of these conditions, the airways can begin swelling. Then the muscles surrounding them will constrict and cause bronchospasm (spasmodic contraction of the smooth muscle of the bronchi). The chest begins to tighten, causing gasping for air, possibly wheezing, and severe coughing. Phlegm develops within the airways, causing them to grow tighter until breathing is difficult. This is the asthma attack, also known as a “flare-up” or an exacerbation (sudden worsening). Intervention becomes crucial, often in the form of a quick-relief medication such as a bronchodilator inhaler which is a drug that will relax the main air passages and ease breathing. In most cases the asthma symptoms may be mild enough to disappear with this “rescue” medication. However, if this does not immediately cause relief, then the asthmatic will need emergency treatment at the hospital.

See also  Common Allergies in Children

Even if an asthmatic is feeling well and not exhibiting any symptoms after having a first attack, he or she is now more inclined to having a future asthma attack. It can flare up at any time and at any place since asthma never disappears, but only waits, ready to strike again. However, as the individual with asthma seeks to be better informed about the disease of asthma, he or she will learn better ways to cope with the disease. Following the doctor’s treatment plan, knowing the conditions that are apt to trigger the asthma, being armed with quick-relief and/or short-term medications (taken to stop the symptoms quickly) and long-term medications (taken to prevent the symptoms), and practicing good health habits, the asthmatic can live rather like any one else. Yet, never far from any asthmatic’s thinking should be the one lifelong thought that though asthma can be relatively controlled by proper treatment and care, it can never be completely “tamed” or banished. Asthma still remains seriously life-threatening.

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