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Effects of Asthma on Children and Adults


Despite advances made in the field of medicine, asthma remains to be one of the most widespread and chronic lung conditions affecting most children while still at their tender ages. It is alarming that out of every fifteen children picked at random, one of them is most likely to be an asthma patient. Besides, these statistics do not deviate much among adults. In North America for instance, more than five percent of adults are victims of asthma. Current demographic facts reveal that nearly one million Canadians in addition to fifteen million North Americans have been diagnosed with asthma. According to Sandra (14), it is unfortunate that new asthma infections have been reported to be on the rise. Further estimates reveal that asthma-related cases have gone up by at least thirty percent in the last two decades. This paper attempts to give an in-depth analysis of both the intrinsic and extrinsic causes of asthma as well as the perturbing yet underlying effects of this chronic respiratory condition.

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Definition and Overview

Asthma is a long-term condition in which the bronchial tubes are inflamed which then results in constriction of the tubes which allow air passage (Peacock 8).

Consequently, breathing is hindered considerably making it cumbersome for the patient to breathe with ease. Once the air passage tubes have been narrowed, it is cumbersome to reverse them back to normal even with proper diagnosis and treatment. In other words, the condition may be permanent. The inflamed tubes may also develop allergies to certain allergens (Peacock 9). The airways may equally become sensitive and extremely reactive to allergic conditions. Medical records do not stipulate any specific age group or gender when it comes to bronchial hyperreactivity; there is a possibility of every human being suffering from this intermediate condition.

Causes of Asthma

In retrospect, there is no real known cause of asthma. Nevertheless, medical experts present more or less the secondary factors which are associated with asthma, namely genetics and environmental triggers. The severity after attack is dependant on the nature of the cause. According to National Institute of Health (par.1) environment plays a key role in the cause and development of asthma. Beyond human control is the genetic factor in which asthma can be transmitted from a parent to the offspring. Scientists believe that there might be other causes of this breathing which have not been discovered yet. Beneath the genetic and environmental causes, the air passage plays a crucial role in being extra sensitive in identifying the possible threats entering the lungs and thereby narrowing down to protect the lungs (Kaliner, Barne & Persson 27). A has argued that environmental triggers consider our body defense system as a real enemy. For instance, dust particles and other airborne pollutants are very significant in aggravating asthmatic condition. If these pollutants would be alleviated, then severe asthma cases would equally reduce.

Transmissible genes within a family tree as far as the cause of asthma is concerned cannot be avoided hence patients are only advised to keep off risk factors within their surrounding (Levy, Weller and Hilton 30). Some of the environmental triggers include smoke from tobacco and poor quality air due to pollution or extra ozone levels. Recent data reveal a very close link between childhood asthma and polluted air especially from automobiles. The research statistics show that the aggravation of asthma among children is mainly due to external pollution from dirty air.

Caesarean sections and asthma are also related in the sense that about twenty per cent of babies born from Caesarean section have a higher prevalence to asthma than those delivered normally. It is being suggested that this is due to bacterial exposure during Caesarean section which interferes with the normal body defense. In vaginal birth, the bacteria do not interfere with the immune system hence lower chances of an infant developing asthma.

In the study of genes, nearly one hundred genes are linked with asthma. Medical experts, however, still believe that several studies need to be conducted to ascertain genetic connection to asthma to discard any doubt of chances in the earlier studies. Most of these genes attached to asthma are believed to interfere with the immune system. Once the system has been modified or simply weakened, the victim is more likely left to the mercy of asthma attack (National Institute of Health par.2). In addition to separate genetic and environmental causes of asthma, these two factors can also interact and degenerate into a third cause of asthma. There are research suggestions that it is possible for certain genes to combine with environmental factors and cause or aggravate asthma. For instance, the CD14 genes and endotoxin exposure are good example of gene-environment fusion linked to asthma. Endotoxin can originate from farm waste, animals like dogs and smoke fumes from tobacco.

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In summing up this paper, it is imperative to note that the genesis of asthma has remained to be a puzzle since its invention hundreds of years ago. In essence, medical experts have conclusively come to a consensus that asthma has no known particular cause. Of great concern is the biology behind asthma which is still a mystery despite frantic efforts to study the condition and administer its cure. Due to this uncertainty, the condition can only be managed by keeping off some possible environmental triggers which are mainly caused by air pollution which. Consequently, the patient experiences episodes of short breaths as if there is less air supply in the lungs.

All age groups can develop asthmatic. Nevertheless, research studies show that asthma prevalence rate in boys is higher than in girls while at the same time there are more female adults who are asthmatic than males. Asthma can be caused by two major factors namely environmental allergies and genetics. In some cases, the environmental-gene interaction has been suggested as another cause. Asthma has no cure. Rather, it can be treated by controlling the symptoms and risk factors like allergies and endotoxiins.

Works Cited

Kaliner A. Michael, Barne J. Peter and Persson C. G. A. Asthma: its pathology and treatment. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1991.Print

Levy Mark, Weller Trisha and Hilton Sean (4th ed). Asthma: Your Fingertips Guide, UK: Class publishing London, 2006. Print

National Institute of Health. “What Causes Asthma?” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, 2010. Web.

Peacock, Judith. Asthma. Minnesota: Capstone press, 2000. Print

Sandra J Jordan. “Attacking Asthma.” Current Health. 33.7 (2010): 14-16

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