By: Christopher Schnyer

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a medical condition that makes breathing more difficult. The part of the body that asthma affects is the respiratory system.

How a healthy respiratory works and how a respiratory works when affected by asthma.

When a normal respiratory system works it flows oxygen through the airways into the lungs allowing you to breath full and let a mass of air in and out. When a respiratory system is affected by asthma it’s main factor is from mucus getting in the airways of the lungs. The mucus gets clogged up in the airways creating a smaller hole to breath though, which makes it harder to breathe. “An asthma attack is like blowing up a balloon and then constricting the opening, allowing the air to escape. The constriction causes a wheezing sound and, of course, the length of time to empty the balloon is increased. In other words, it's difficult to get air in and out of the balloon.”

Who gets asthma?

Asthma affects male and female in the same way. All ages are affected by asthma but mostly children. All races are also affected in the same way.

How does the condition arise?

You can either be born with asthma, or develop it either as an adult or as a child. If you are born with it the usual case is that it is from you parents. There are some things that can either lead you to develop asthma or worsen it if you already have it, these are called things are called asthma triggers.

  • Allergens from dust, animal fur, cockroaches, mold, and pollens from trees, grasses, and flowers

  • Irritants such as cigarette smoke, air pollution, chemicals or dust in the workplace, compounds in home décor products, and sprays (such as hairspray)

  • Medicines such as aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and nonselective beta-blockers

  • Sulfites in foods and drinks

  • Viral upper respiratory infections, such as colds

  • Physical activity, including exercise

How is this condition diagnosed?

The doctor can diagnose you with asthma by asking about your family history in asthma. They will also run a physical exam to see if you are showing any common signs and symptoms. They will also ask you if you notice any signs and symptoms and when they normally occur. A test that is also used is spirometry, this test measures how much air you can breath in and how and also how fast you can blow air out of your body. If all of these test show positive then you most likely have asthma.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of asthma are pretty easy to tell here is a list of them.

  • Coughing. Coughing from asthma often is worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep.

  • Wheezing. Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound that occurs when you breathe.

  • Chest tightness. This may feel like something is squeezing or sitting on your chest.

  • Shortness of breath. Some people who have asthma say they can't catch their breath or they feel out of breath. You may feel like you can't get air out of your lungs.

Treatment for this condition

There is some treatment for this condition but the treatment does not cure asthma it just keeps it under control. It is possible to overcome asthma though but just by outgrowing it. The treatments used are inhalers, pills, and monoclonal antibodies .


When you have asthma there is no cure but there is a medication that you can use to control it, this is an inhaler. There are different types of medicine that can go into inhalers but the one for when you have a shortness of breath is called albuterol. What you do to control your asthma is when every you have a shortness of breath you inhale some of the medicine to help clear things up. People with asthma normally bring these were every they go.


I used to to have asthma when I was younger but eventually outgrew it but I never really knew what it was so I decided to do some more research on it to see what was really happening in my lungs and what an inhaler was actually doing to help this is why I choose this condition.

Works Cited

Works Cited

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Esposito, Lisa. "Fighting The Constant Battle To Breathe." U.S. News Digital Weekly 6.37 (2014): 21. Middle Search Plus. Web. 7 Jan. 2015.


"More Than 14 Million U.S. Adults Diagnosed With Asthma." Nation's Health 31.10 (2001): 5. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 7 Jan. 2015.


Deas, Gerald W. "Asthma: how to seize the wheeze." New York Amsterdam News 22 May 2008: 28. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 7 Jan. 2015.


"How Is Asthma Diagnosed?" - NHLBI, NIH. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <>.

"How Do Asthma Inhalers Work?"How Do Asthma Inhalers Work?Web. 14 Jan. 2015. <>.


By Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator (Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator) [CC BY 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons


By LadyofHats [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


By ParentingPatch (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons



"Asthma." YouTube. YouTube. Web. 21 Jan. 2015. <>.