According to Platts-Mills, asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the bronchus/airways and lungs that causes spasm and periodical dilation of the bronchus thereby narrowing it. The enlargement of the dense oesinophilic line near the bronchus/airways causes the individual to wheeze and gasp for air. The barrier to air flow may be resolved spontaneously but in extreme cases the response may only be achieved after using a wide range of medication. Continued swelling results in extreme sensitivity of the airways to different stimuli such as cold, grime, pollen, stress, nervousness, exercise and pollutants (163).Asthma: Causes and Mechanisms Essay
Busse and Holgate observe that asthma is mainly caused by inhalation of allergen that exacerbates a chain of biochemical and tissue reactions resulting in bronchial enlargement, bronchoconstriction and gasping/wheezing. The symptoms are further aggravated by rhinitis and sinusitis, gastric acid reflux, viral infection of the respiratory system or cold and the use of drugs such as aspirin and beta-blocker drugs. The known causative agents of asthma include animal fur, mites, fungi, cockroach allergens, chemicals, fumes, air pollutants and smoke. Other causative agents include exercises, inhaling cold air and stress. The environment plays a major role in the development and triggering or exacerbation of asthma attacks. Other causative agents include genetics ( immunity and respiratory aspects), social aspects such as poverty and poor nutrition and the interactions amongst these aspects (153).
Asthma is typified by swelling of the airways with increased secretion of mucus in the tubes. The symptoms experienced by asthmatics are as a result of bronchial muscle tightening, inflammation and mucus secretion. The widely recognized symptoms of the condition include night cough, short breath, chest pains and wheezing. The above symptoms do not apply to all patients as one may undergo various symptoms at separate times and can also be slight during one attack and worse in another. While some asthmatics have been noted to stay for longer durations minus experiencing the symptoms other asthmatics experience the symptoms on a daily basis. While others have been noted to experience severe attacks during exercises, others experience the attacks as a consequence of viral infections such as colds.