Be Aware of Asthma!

By Hunter LaBelle

What is Asthma?

Asthma (or chronic inflammatory respiratory disease) is a type of disorder that swells and narrows the airways of the respiratory system, causing wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.

Where Does Asthma Strike?

Asthma affects the respiratory system. This disease targets the airways and makes them swell and contract. The airway gets irritated, mucus builds up, and the muscles contract causing it to be harder to breathe.

Normal Airway

A normal airway is clear with no irritation or mucus build-up. A person should not be experiencing any trouble breathing when their airway is normal.

Airway Under Attack

This picture demonstrates a closed airway and what it might look like when a person is having an asthma attack.


  • The airway becomes inflamed and irritated.
  • Mucus increases and clogs the airway making it difficult to breathe.
  • The muscles surrounding the airway tightens and narrows the airway.
Asthma Medical Animation

Who Does Asthma Target?

  • Asthma affects all races and ages.
  • People with a family history of allergies or asthma are more likely to develop asthma.
  • The majority of children who have asthma develop it before the age of 5.
  • Childhood asthma affects boys more than girls. But, around the age of 12, girls begin to outnumber boys with asthma.
  • New asthma cases in adults usually occurs between the ages of 30-39.

Onset - How Does Asthma Arise?

This condition naturally occurs in peoples lives, but can have an Asthma Flare. There are hundreds of things that could trigger a flare, but everyone's triggers are different. Some common causes are mold, dust, pet dander, cold weather, food and even exercise. Almost 80% of people with asthma have allergies, and those allergies could trigger an asthma attack. Asthma Flares have the ability to increase the effect of Asthma, if not taken care of by a doctor or special medicine that to prevent it.

How Is Asthma Diagnosed?

Asthma is diagnosed by a doctor, allergist or immunologist. They will ask what symptoms you have experienced such as:

  • Cough that is constant, happens while sleeping or triggered by cold air
  • Wheezing or whistling while breathing
  • Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Problems sleeping due to coughing or difficulty breathing


If you think you have asthma, pay attention to the symptoms above and record when they occur. A doctor will review your symptoms and perform a breathing test to measure your breathing and lung function to determine if you have asthma.

Signs and Symptoms of Asthma

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing or whistling when you breathe
  • Inability to sleep
  • Dark circles under eyes
  • Feeling of tight chest
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Breathing faster

Asthma Treatment

There is no cure for Asthma. However, the symptoms can be controlled with medications.


  • Corticosteroids, like Flovent, are taken daily to control symptoms and help the airways stay open and reduces the amount of mucus being collected in the airways.
  • A combination inhaler that contains corticosteroids and long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) will help keep airways open.
  • Quick relief, rescue inhalers, like Albuterol, will quickly relax and open airways during asthma flarea.

Prognosis

The life expectancy of a person with mild Asthma is about in the 80yrs range. With proper treatment and management of asthma, you can minimize your symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.

Connections

I can personally connect with this disease because I have allergy-induced asthma. I take daily allergy medication and an inhaler to reduce my allergy symptoms and keep my airway free of mucus. By managing my allergies, I will hopefully avoid an asthma flare. When my allergies are active, I am at higher risk of developing bronchitis which could lead to an asthma flare. I begin taking a rescue inhaler to keep my airway open when my symptoms become severe and I begin coughing and wheezing.


There are many things I can do to help reduce the chance of an asthma flare and keep me healthy. I wash my hands frequently to prevent germs from spreading and possibly catching a virus, I stay away from triggers that could bring on an allergy attack. I get a flu shot each year to help protect me from the flu which would be much worse for a person with asthma. I try to stay healthy and eat right to remain healthy. And I take daily medication to reduce symptoms.

My Info's origin......


"ASTHMA." ASTHMA. EBSCO, n.d. Web.

"Early Warning Signs." Early Warning Signs. EBSCO, n.d. Web.

"Know Your Triggers." Know Your Triggers. EBSCO, n.d. Web.

"What Is Asthma (2)." What Is Asthma (2). EBSCO, n.d. Web.

"What Is Asthma?" Chapter One: What Is Asthma? EBSCO, n.d. Web.


"Asthma Medical Animation." YouTube. YouTube, 7 May 2011. Web. 22 Jan. 2015. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX2gkY0fXKY>.