Asthma Misty Kroenke November 29, 2010 HCS245 Timothy Coleman Asthma is a widespread disease that affects many cultures and has no boundaries. It does not care about country, race, religion or sex. Asthma can affect anyone and can develop at an early age or later in life. People who have asthma the airways in the lungs narrow and swell. They produce extra mucus and breathing becomes difficult. Some common signs and symptoms of asthma are coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Asthma is a common long term disease of children, but some adults have asthma too. Asthma is most common in people under eighteen years of age.
Nine million children in America have asthma. It is the most common chronic disease among children and the leading cause of missed school. Children have smaller airways and that makes asthma especially serious for them. Asthma occurs more frequently in boys than girls, the reason being that a boy’s airway size is smaller than a girls. Heredity plays a big role in children getting asthma. It is said that three-fifths of all asthma cases are hereditary. Many things can trigger an asthma attack. Allergens such as mold, pollen or animals, irritants like cigarette smoke or air pollution can all be triggers.
Weather such as old air or even sudden changes in the weather can also cause an attack. Exercise is another trigger for an asthma attack. If a child has airway hyper reactivity this is another risk factor for asthma. However not all people who have airway hyper reactivity develop asthma, but if one does have it they have a greater chance of developing asthma. There are several other ways that children can develop asthma. Atopy which is allergic hypersensitivity is another way that a child can develop asthma. Atopy may include eczema, allergic rhinitis or allergic conjunctivitis.
There have been studies done that indicate that 40-50% of children with eczema develop asthma. Indoor air pollutants are a large factor in asthma. Some things indoors that can trigger asthma are; mold, noxious fumes from household cleaners and paints can cause an asthma attack. Outdoor factors such as pollution, sulfur dioxide from smog, ozone from smog and high humidity are all triggers for asthma. Smog is the main component in ozone that triggers asthma. There are several risk factors for developing childhood asthma such as nasal allergies like hay fever, if a child has frequent respiratory infections, and low birth weight.
Some allergens that can trigger asthma in children are dust mites, cockroach allergen, some medicines, burning wood, pet dander, grass and strenuous physical exercise. There are lots of ways to treat asthma and this will depend on the type of asthma the child has. First the doctor will have to learn what triggers the asthma and try to avoid them. Long term medications such as inhaled corticosteroids may be prescribed; they have a low risk of side effects and are safe for long term use. An example of these would be an inhaler. Oral medication such as montelukast, help prevent asthma symptoms for twenty four hours.
Long acting beta agonists are inhaled medications and they open airways and reduce inflammation. There are also short acting inhalers that give quick relief when one is having an asthma attack. For allergy induced asthma one may require allergy shots, they are given once a week for a couple of months then once a month for three to five years. These shots help reduce ones immune system reaction to specific allergens. Allergy medications help reduce reactions to allergens and reduce the chance of an asthma attack. Children should always be kept away from all sources of smoke in order to reduce the chance that they may have an asthma attack.
Depending on the child’s history and the severity of asthma, the child’s doctor will develop an Asthma Action Plan. This will tell the adult when and how the child should use their asthma medications. Most cultures agree that there are ways to treat asthma. Some people prefer to use holistic treatments such as homeopathy, breathing techniques and acupuncture. Relaxation techniques like meditation or hypnosis have been used as well. Herbal remedies such as butterbur, dried ivy and ginkgo extract are traditional Chinese, Indian and Japanese medicine.
Omega 3 fatty acids that are in fish and flax seed may reduce the inflammation that can lead to asthma symptoms. When one is diagnosed with asthma there are several places where one can look for information other than their doctor. There are chat rooms and message boards on the internet or support groups in the patients’ local area. For children it is important to focus on things they can do and not on what they cannot do. Make sure teachers are aware of the diagnosis so they too can be on the lookout for symptoms. Making sure friends and family are aware as well.
While there is no prevention for developing asthma there are however ways one can prevent attacks. Follow your asthma action plan. Identify and avoid asthma triggers such as allergens and irritants. Monitor ones breathing, this way you may be able to learn what the warning signs are to an attack. Make sure to take ones medication as prescribed. Lastly there are websites that are specifically there for people who have asthma. The American Lung Association has done extensive research on asthma and has posted its findings on their website for reference.
Although asthma can be bothersome and can make one feel down about their situation there are ways that it can be treated. Always look on the positive side and make sure to keep ones doctor informed as to their situation so that if things change with the asthma any medications that one is taking can be changed if needed. Parents of children should be sure to encourage their children to participate in their treatment and praise them for the things that they can do and let them try things even if the parents do not feel they can do it, one might be surprised at how much they can do even with asthma.
There is research being done every day and that could lead to better medications and inhalers so that it will not be so bad for future generations of children who may develop asthma. References Asthma (2010) www. mayoclinic. com Retrieved November 23, 2010 Asthma and Children Fact Sheet (2010) www. lungusa. org/about-us/lung-helpline. html Retrieved November 23, 2010 Asthma Action Plan (2009) www. cdc. gov Retrieved November 23, 2010 Gerace, James (2010) Asthma in Children and Infants. www. webmd. com Retrieved November 23, 2010