This assignment will explore in detail the chronic inflammatory lung disease known as asthma. It will identify the aetiology of the condition and explain how the causes contribute to the disease. It will present the signs and symptoms associated with asthma incorporating clinical signs whilst linking with the underlying pathophysiology. It will include the main investigations undertaken in order to aid the diagnosis of asthma and identify one common drug group used in the treatment and management of the condition. Psychological and sociological effects of the condition will also be explored.A etiology, Signs and Symptoms of Asthma
Asthma is a common respiratory condition often chronic; it is characterized by attacks of spasm in the bronchi of the lungs, causing breathing difficulty. According to Asthma UK, currently in Northern Ireland 182,000 people (1 in 10) are currently receiving treatment for asthma. This includes 36,000 children and 146,000 adults. The National Health Service (NHS) spends around one billion pounds a year treating and caring for people with asthma attributing to 77,124 UK hospital admissions in 2016/17 (Asthma UK, 2019).
Asthma is caused when inflammation occurs in the bronchioles, these are small airways which transport air from the larger bronchial tubes to the microscopic alveoli. However, in asthma the bronchial smooth muscle wall narrows therefore making breathing extremely difficult. Plugs containing a mixture of sticky mucus form, serum proteins and cell debris production increases, which may entirely block the airway creating an airway obstruction. Certain triggers may cause hyper-responsiveness of the airways leading to bronchospasm and chronic inflammation often occurs when something that irritates the lungs enters, allergens such as animal fur, pollen, mould, cigarette smoke, air pollution, exercise and contracting an upper respiratory tract infection may also trigger asthma. (Aldington and Beasley 2007)
An exacerbation is a deterioration in the level of control experienced by a person with asthma. Recurring episodes of inflammation can lead to an obstructed airway which is a life-threatening medical emergency. It is vital a nurse takes note of the level and duration of deterioration as well as obtaining a full detailed history from the patient. Current UK guidelines advise that once an adequate history has been taken, the following parameters should be checked, respiratory rate; pulse rate; pulse oximetry; peak expiratory flow (PEF) and record and document any treatment a patient may have self-administered before presentation. After this initial assessment the patient can then be categorized as moderate, severe or life threatening based on criteria and a management plan implemented.
It can be very difficult to say for certain why some people contract asthma, although it is known that an individual is more likely to develop it if there is a family history of the condition. Researchers in Oxford have found that the gene responsible for asthma, hay fever and other allergy-type illnesses is only active when inherited from the mother. If inherited from the father, the offspring is less likely to suffer from these illnesses. (Tanday, 2015)A etiology, Signs and Symptoms of Asthma