Where Is Asthma Found In The Respiratory System?

Asthma is a common respiratory illness that affects 8-10% of the population.  It occurs mainly in children and the number affected is increasing, especially in the Western world and in urban areas.   It affects people’s ability to breathe and can range from being mild, severe and sometimes fatal.  It is caused by the lungs’ overactive response to allergens, resulting in difficulty breathing, tightened chest and coughing.  5.4 million people are affected by asthma in the Uk, which has the highest rates than the rest of Europe.  Three people die every day as a result of fatal asthma attacks.

Although it is more common for asthma to start in childhood, adults can develop asthma symptoms too.  You are more likely to suffer from asthma if; there is a family history of asthma, have allergies, live with smokers and live in urban areas.  Some asthma can be triggered by poor housing conditions but generally, anyone can be affected.  Sports stars such as; David Beckham and Paula Radcliffe have overcome their symptoms to become top of their sports.

The Respiratory System

The respiratory system is essential to our survival as it brings oxygen to the lungs and removes carbon dioxide from the body.  Every breath we take, either through our nose or mouth travels through our airways to our lungs.  Air enters our lungs through the bronchioles which separate into smaller tubes until they get to the nodes in the lungs.  If the bronchioles become inflamed and reduced in size it makes it difficult to breathe causing respiratory problems.

An asthma attack occurs when the bronchiole contracts and the glands excrete liquid into the already restricted space.  This is generally caused by an allergic reaction, exercise or a viral infection, stress and sudden changes in temperature can also provoke an attack.  Breathing becomes restricted when the bronchiole becomes inflamed. Permanent damage can be caused to the lungs if treatment is not administered.

Three Types Of Asthma

Intermittent: Most people suffer this type of asthma.  Generally, suffers have mild attacks that have a long space between them.  Often lung function is relatively normal between each incident.

Moderate: About 20% of children are affected by this type.  Attacks are more frequent and can occur between attacks.  Lung function can be abnormal in between incidents.

Severe: This is when the sufferer encounters frequent and severe attacks.  In between incidents symptoms such as; shortness of breath and wheezing persist.  Pulmonary function is affected at all times.

Treatment

Asthma can be treated in the following ways:-

  • Avoid triggers, if you are aware of the conditions and allergens that provoke an attack to avoid them if at all possible.
  • Reliever Inhalers are normally blue and are used to relieve the inflammation in the lungs quickly by relaxing the airways.
  • Preventer Inhalers are normally brown and are taken in the morning and evening to prevent the onset of an attack.
  • Ventolin Evohaler contains salbutamol which relaxes the bronchioles.  It is administered through a fine mist and stops wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath relatively quickly.

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