Pathology, Prevalence, Etiology, Signs and Symptoms of Asthma
Fanta, Cristiano and Haver (2003) state that asthma is a chronic disease affecting the airways (the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs). Specifically, asthma is said to be an inflamation (swelling) of the inside walls of the airways making them extraordinarily sensitive to irritations and allergens.
Rosenwasser (2004) reports that asthma can develop at any age but is most common in childhood. In childhood, the condition affects twice as many boys as girls with more girls than boys developing asthma as teenagers. Thus, by adulthood, the ratio shifts and becomes 1:1 males to females; in other words, there is no gender difference by adulthood. Rosenwasser also notes that currently there is a general trend of increased deaths and hospitalizations for asthma in the industrialized countries of the world. This fact makes the need for effective treatment even more urgent.
As to the signs and symptoms of asthma, Batmanghelidz (2000) reports that asthma symptoms include: coughing (which is often worse at night or in the early morning causing sleep difficulties); wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound when a person with asthma breathes); chest tightness, shortness of breath and fast or noisy breathing. The signs of asthma include wheezing when the patient has a cold or other illness, frequent coughing, coughing or wheezing brought on by prolonged crying or laughing, and coughing or wheezing when near an allergen or irritant.
With proper treatment, the prognosis for asthma is relatively good despite the fact that it is a serious condition. Fanta, Cristiano and Haver (2003) report that there are several medications that are useful in treating asthma. The most commonly prescribed medications include:
1. Inhaled corticosteroids which are the most effective long-term controller medications, the effects of which reduce inflammation and swelling in the lungs to...