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Apprehending Asthma: The Rundown of Asthma and How to Manage It


Asthma is a pulmonary inflammatory disease that affects millions nationwide. With the rising effects from poor air quality, being cognizant of asthma can help overcome its consequences. This article will describe the pathophysiology and risk factors of asthma, how one with asthma presents, its signs and symptoms, how to manage it, and its prognosis in California.

Pathophysiology & Risk Factors

The flu typically has specific pathogens that cause illness. With asthma, no specific etiologic agent causes it. In fact, it can be caused by exercise, pollen, dust, and even cold environments (Loeffler & Hart, 2018, p.

573). Regardless, asthma manifests in patients consistently. It is caused by a stimulus that initiates bronchospasms (Loeffler & Hart, 2018, p. 598). When the bronchospasms occur, the lungs do not ventilate adequately because the airway is constricted. Other obstructions may cause airway resistance such as fluid buildup, excess mucus production, and muscle and epithelium damage (Lynn & Kushto-Reese, 2015). Such obstacles cause asthma attacks.

People are more at risk for asthma if they do the following: live in conditions with poor air quality, have a family history, have any kind of allergy, smoke, are obese,


When someone might have an asthma attack, they present with dyspnea.

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Someone with difficulty breathing often uses accessory muscles to breathe and stays in the tripod position. Performing excessive measures means the patient cannot ventilate adequately without extra work. The tripod position is when a person has their body bent over and their hands on their knees. This is a sign of dyspnea because the tripod position allows the chest cavity to expand more and allow more air movement (Mesquita Montes et al.

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, 2018). Someone with adequate breathing would not have to do either of these functions because they are well ventilated.

Signs & Symptoms

Asthma affects almost every aspect of the pulmonary system and can presents signs that are mistaken for another illness. Therefore, it is important to know how asthma and other illnesses differ. A sign that a person may be having an asthma attack is if they are exposed to an allergen. An allergic reaction can lead to asthma and more serious consequences if action is not taken right away. A significant sign is wheezing which means that fluid is obstructing the lower airway.

There are a few symptoms which indicate an asthma attack. They include the following: dyspnea, chest pain or tightness, and increased sputum volume (Casey, 2019). A patient who suspects they’re having an asthmatic episode usually first complains of difficulty breathing. Constricted and obstructed airways cause the patient to experience this. Another symptom of asthma is chest tightness. This can alarm health care professionals because chest pain is associated with myocardial infarction. However, patients with asthma have chest tightness from the excessive work and low oxygen saturation that not from a cardiac ischemic event. Lastly, excessive sputum should alarm health care professionals because it indicates that there is an obstruction in their airway. Sometimes patients may not show any symptoms but have inflamed major organs (Lynn & Kushto-Reese, 2015). It is crucial for health care professionals to fully assess their patients to avoid mistreatment.


Managing a patient’s airway is a priority to ensure a patient with asthma is stable. This includes the use of meter-dosed inhalers (MDI), beta2-agonists, and inhaled corticosteroids. Using a MDI is a popular and efficient method of controlling asthma. According to a periodical by Stephanie Richardson, MDIs are as effective as nebulizers if taken correctly (2016). Its purpose is to reduce inflammatory effects and increase airway function. Beta2-agonists, often Albuterol, are administered to patients to dilate bronchi (Lynn & Kushto-Reese, 2015). This allows for better gas exchange between the lungs and environment. Lastly, inhaled corticosteroids reduce inflammatory effects in the pulmonary system (Casey, 2019). This effect exacerbates air flow in the lungs.

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Apprehending Asthma: The Rundown of Asthma and How to Manage It. (2019, Dec 12). Retrieved from

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