Monday, June 6, 2011

Asthma: Respiratory Inflammation

Asthma is a reversible lung disease characterized by narrowing of the airways which are inflamed and hyper responsive to a variety of environmental stimuli. Asthma symptoms may resolve on its own or with treatment. The symptoms range from mild wheezing and difficulty breathing to life threatening. There are physiological changes that occur in the bronchus of a person suffering from asthma. The bronchus which house the alveoli become thick with mucous, inflamed, enlarged and the membrane surrounding the bronchus thickens.

These changes cause chest tightness, coughing, difficulty breathing and wheezing. Seasonal changes such as increased pollen in the air, dust, pollutants and changes in temperature and humidity may trigger an asthmatic attack. People who are diagnosed with asthma must carry a rescue inhaler. Steroids decrease the amount of inflammation in the bronchus thus decreasing the amount of mucous build-up. The rescue inhaler helps to open the airway spasm by relaxing the smooth muscle around the bronchus. If you suspect you have asthma, seek medical attention.

Good health,
Trisha M Pacenti RN,BSN