Asthma Is Commonly Defined as a Chronic Thesis

Pages: 5 (1612 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Disease

Asthma is commonly defined as a chronic or long-term lung disease that causes inflammation and narrows the airways. (What Is Asthma: NIH) it is generally considered to be one of the most common respiratory complaints in the world today. (What is Asthma?)

Studies indicate that this disease affects people of all ages. However, it is often seen to begin in early childhood. (What Is Asthma?) Research indicates that it affects approximately ten percent of all children and about five percent of adults. (What Is Asthma?) of the estimated 22 million people in the United States who have been diagnosed with this disease, approximately six million are children. (What Is Asthma: NIH) This leads to certain questions about the causative factors of this disease which will be addressed in the following sections.

Symptoms and affects

Simply stated, asthma causes the airways to become inflamed, swollen and sensitive. When allergic reactions are experienced the muscles around the airways tighten and narrow. Cells in the airways also create more mucus than normal which can further impede breathing. (What Is Asthma: NIH)

The general symptoms of asthma include coughing, tightness of the chest and shortness of breath, which often become worse at night or after extensive exercise. (What Is Asthma?) it can therefore have a negative effect on quality of life as it can disturb normal sleeping patterns and prevent the individual from taking part in sport. In severe cases it may mean that the person may not be able to work on a regular basis. Severe and chronic conditions can also lead to death. (What Is Asthma?)

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Asthma is diagnosed by a doctor who will first of all consult your medical history to determine whether the symptoms have been present for a long period of time, and if there are other related health issues. This is followed by a physical exam and various medical tests. It is also important to ascertain the level of severity of the disease as this will influence the type of treatment that will be prescribed. (How Is Asthma Diagnosed?)

3. Causes

Thesis on Asthma Is Commonly Defined as a Chronic Assignment

There is no single definitive or exact cause that has been isolated for this disease. Researchers are of the opinion that it is caused by a number of different factors and by certain environmental variables that may interact with individual genetic traits. This also refers to an inherited tendency or proclivity to contract this disease. In this regard medical science has isolated an inherited tendency to develop allergies which can lead to an asthmatic condition. This is known as atopy. (What Causes Asthma? )

Atopy is a term that is derived from the Greek 'atopos' which means" out of place." (Definition of Atopy) it is defined as, "The genetic tendency to develop & #8230; classic allergic diseases "and it involves"… the capacity to produce IgE in response to common environmental proteins such as house dust mites, grass pollen, and food allergens. (Definition of Atopy).

Therefore, if atopy is common in a family this can lead to asthma. It has also been found that children who develop certain respiratory infections during childhood are more prone to asthma.

It is well-known fact that exposure to airborne allergens such as house dust and cat or dog dander, as well as irritants such as cigarette smoke, can result in the symptoms of asthma. Many commentators refer to the importance of food allergies as well which have been found to play a significant role in this disease. However, as one study notes, while food allergies do play a significant role as a causative factor in asthma, they are relatively uncommon and only affect approximately one percent of children and half that number of adults. (Food allergy, preservatives and Asthma) a more common cause of asthma that is often mentioned by medical practitioners is inhaled allegergens such as house-dust mites, and cat fur.

One theory that has been put forward to account for asthma is known as the "Hygiene Hypothesis." This refers to the Western lifestyle and the emphasis that is placed on hygiene and sanitation in many cultures. Theorists suggest that our lifestyle has resulted in changes in the way that the immune system of children develops and that this in turn may be a central cause of allergies, which can result in asthma. As one commentator notes;

Many young children no longer experience the same types of environmental exposures and infections as children did in the past. This affects the way that the immune systems in today's young children develop during very early childhood, and it may increase their risk for atopy and asthma.

(What Causes Asthma?)

Another factor that has been cited as a cause of asthma in our modern societies is the increase of pollution, such as the fumes from car exhausts and various industrial chemical gases. Another element that should be taken into account is emotion: "Emotions such as excitement, anger, fear and laughter can all aggravate asthma." (What is Asthma?)

There are also concerns that certain drugs and medications may trigger asthma. This refers in particular to various commonly used and prescribed medications, such as aspirin and other anti-inflammatory tablets. (What is Asthma?) Asthma can also be caused by exposure to many substances that are common the workplace; such as organic dust from wood grain and formaldehyde vapor, soldering and welding fumes, epoxy resin and acrylic acid and acrylates. ( What is Asthma?)

Researchers have found that asthma, particularly among children, is often a result of a combination of factors. In one study it was found that, "children whose parents reported high levels of psychological stress, and who were exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb and to traffic-related pollution early in life, had a much higher risk of developing asthma, compared to children only exposed to pollution

(Stress and pollution up kids' asthma risk).

This indicates that stress in combination with pollution and other environmental factors is a major cause of asthma in developed and industrial societies.

4. Treatment

There is no cure for asthma. The disease remains even when the individual feels well and it can occur again at any time or in certain circumstances. However, medical science has found many ways to help those who suffer from this disease and asthma is a condition that can be controlled with a radical reduction of symptoms. As one report from the National Institutes of Health states, "…with today's knowledge and treatments, most people who have asthma are able to manage the disease. They have few, if any, symptoms. They can live normal, active lives and sleep through the night without interruption from asthma. (What Is Asthma?: NIH)

The emphasis in treatment is therefore on a comprehensive and effective management plan for the disease. The aim of treatment is to ensure that the lungs and breathing tubes function as normal and that they are minimally affected by the various causes of asthma. One of the greatest dangers that face the asthma, sufferer is that "… sometimes it is not recognized and treated, in which case the patient undergoes unnecessary suffering." (What is asthma? Health 24)

5. Conclusion

Asthma is a disease that has become increasingly common in modern, industrialized Western society. Part of the reason for this is the high amount of chemical and other pollutants in our atmosphere, as well as the decline in immune system responses that has been linked to various aspects of our modern lifestyle.

I have a particular interest in this topic as I have suffered from an asthmatic condition all my life. Like so many asthmatics my condition began for no apparent reason when I was a child and has been a part of my life ever since. My condition is also related to various allergies and in particular to cat fur and second-hand cigarette smoke. There is also a genetic… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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