Thursday, January 23, 2014

Understanding Asthma made simple

In healthy lungs, airways are wide open allowing the passage of air to move freely. The bronchioles are free of inflammation and the cells are free of pathology. Secretions that are naturally present are kept at minimal. Capillaries are functioning properly delivering nutrient rich blood and allowing the even exchange of oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2).

In the asthmatic lung, there is an absence of a symbiotic environment. The pathophysiology present are inflammatory cells. These inflammatory cells create edema (swelling) and damage the airway and blood vessels. Edema causes increased mucus secretion within the airway and a decreased ability to transport the secretions from the airway. The blood vessels respond to the edema by becoming sluggish. In other words, the secretions are getting in but not coming out. Airways are small, even the largest of them, but they are designed to be free of obstructions so air may freely move in and out.

Soon after inflammation sets in, the sensory nerves located within the airway are triggered. This hyperactivity is manifested by a cough or a wheeze. There are many treatment choices available to you. Your doctor will design a treatment plan for your own individual situation.

Good health,
Trisha M. Pacenti RN,BSN