Pathology of Asthma
Asthma is a lung disease that makes breathing difficult for millions of Americans, both young and old. It is a chronic lung disease that causes the airways of the lungs to swell and narrow leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. Approximately 34.1 million Americans have been diagnosed with Asthma by a healthcare professional during their lifetime (Asthma Statistics). There is no cure for Asthma, but there are treatments that can make living with Asthma easier. Today I will be discussing what is Asthma, causes of Asthma, who is at risk, and treatments and prevention.
What is Asthma?
People who have asthma have inflammation of the airways that carry air into and out of the lungs. This makes the airways swollen and very sensitive and it makes pulmonary ventilation very hard. The airways of the lungs consist of the cartilaginous bronchi, membranous bronchi, and gas-exchanging bronchi termed the respiratory bronchioles and alveoli ducts. While the first 2 types function mostly as anatomic dead space, they also contribute to airway resistance (Morris). They tend to react strongly to certain inhaled substances. When the airways react, the muscles around them tighten. This narrows the airways, causing less air to flow into the lungs. The swelling also can worsen, making the airways even narrower. Asthma produces spasms in the bronchial passages (bronchospasms) that may be sudden and violent (paroxysmal) and lead to dyspnea (Gylys). Cells in the airways may make more mucus than normal. Mucus is a sticky, thick liquid that can further narrow your airways. This chain reaction can result in asthma symptoms. Common symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath (asthma). Not all people who have asthma have these symptoms. Likewise, having these symptoms doesn't always mean that you have asthma. Symptoms can happen each time the airways are inflamed. Asthma symptoms are typically...