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Asthma: Disease of the Respiratory System

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Essay title: Asthma: Disease of the Respiratory System

Asthma: Disease of the respiratory system

Breathing, the act of inhaling and exhaling of air. Oddly enough this process is an absolute necessity for life and yet we do not control it. There are two systems involved in our ability to breathe one is the parasympathetic nervous system and the other is the respiratory system. The parasympathetic nervous system controls the body’s unconscious actions that are necessary to live such as the beating of the heart. The Respiratory system mainly consists of the nose, nasal passages, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs which is also called the respiratory tract.

The main job of the respiratory system is to control the intake and exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between an organism and the environment. This is process is called respiration, also known as breathing. The air is taken in through the nasal passages of the nose, where it is filtered, warmed, and humidified. It then passes the pharynx and larynx and makes its way down the trachea. When it reaches the end of the trachea it filters into two lungs. After going through the bronchi and bronchioles, which are located within the lung, it makes its way to the alveoli. This is where the exchange of gases takes place, through the various capillaries that surround the alveoli.

Unfortunately there are plenty of diseases out there that causes this process to not take place as effectively as they should. One of these diseases is called asthma, “once thought of as a major illness, asthma is now regarded as a complex condition with multiple causes” (Adams xxi). Asthma has been defined and redefined so many times in


the past that its been hard to get a straight definition. Basically what asthma is, is your lungs inability to retain and use air to make energy for the body. “Asthma is a lung disease with the following characteristics: (1) Airway obstruction that is reversible, but not completely in some patients, either spontaneously or with treatment (2) airway inflammation; and (3) increased airway responsiveness to a variety of stimuli.”

(Lieberman 5). Some of the symptoms involved with an asthma attack are severe wheezing, coughing that wont stop, rapid breathing, chest pain, difficulty talking, pale face, blue lips or fingernails, feelings of anxiety or panic, and tightened chest and neck muscles.

Many different characteristics may occur when an asthmatic response is occurring. One of these is inflammation which commonly known as swelling and redness of the skin. But It can also occur within the interior of the body. If this is to occur within the respiratory system causing the bronchi tubes to narrow which is causing an airway obstruction and causes the body to experience shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. There is also something else that may occur which is called bronchial hyper responsiveness which is when the asthmatics respond to various types of stimulus, causing the constriction of the muscles surrounding the bronchial tubes. Another is called fibrosis or scarring, which is lung damage that narrow the tubules and cause tissue destruction but in most cases is reversible. “Although these four characteristics are shared by all asthmatics, it is still important to recognize that asthma is not a homogeneous entity.. It exists in many forms.” (Lieberman 7)

There are many instances that can be a trigger of these reactions, some of them


being the common cold or and kind of upper respiratory infection such as the flu or bronchitis. Exercise, strenuous activity can cause the narrowing of bronchi in asthmatic patients, there is also a lesser form of asthma that is called exercise induced asthma that is

caused purely by exercise. This is a very common form of asthma and is very prevalent among children. “ More than three-fourths of children with asthma were unprepared for an exercise induced bronchospasm” (NewsRx 1). cold air is another trigger of an asthma attack. Airborne allergies is another major trigger to asthma, some of the allergens include and are not limited to tree, grass and weed, dust mites, mold, and animal dander. Strong odors from perfumes, tobacco smoke, and cleaning agents also have been held accountable for the triggering of these attacks. Other reasons include strong emotions and Gastroesophageal reflux disease(GERD).

There were many ways that this disease was explored in the laboratory, yet there is no set parameters that say whether or not you have or don’t have asthma due to how much difference there is in each case. Although there are a set of evaluations that the physicians use. One is a blood test used to test how many eosinophils or allergy cells a present in the blood. They also obtain

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