Coping with Asthma – Respiratory System Example

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"Coping with Asthma" is an outstanding example of a paper on the respiratory system. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the airways. Whenever the airways are exposed to asthma triggers, they become inflamed, filled with mucus and narrow (Murphy, 2011). It is not clear what causes asthma but I believe that it is genetic since it has been observed to affect persons from families with asthma history. Dust, cold, pollen and other particulate matter in the air such as cockroach droppings could also cause asthma. Controlling asthma is difficult because it shares symptoms with other respiratory diseases.

Just as is the case with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD and congestive heart failure, asthma is associated with nocturnal dyspnea (Le & Simon, 2006). As such, incorrect diagnosis has been the main challenge in controlling the disease. There are various forms of medicines that could be used to control asthma but healthcare providers should appreciate that there exists no one best medication for all asthma patients. With this difference in asthma among individuals, healthcare providers need to work closely with their patients to determine the best plan based on their symptoms and needs.

According to the American Lung Association (2014), taking the right medication at the right time improves breathing and reduces asthma symptoms. Examples of these drugs include bronchodilators which relax the muscles in airways, anti-inflammatories which reduce mucus production and swelling in airways and antivirals and antibiotics which curb the associated viral and bacterial infections respectively. Patients need to be taught how to monitor their asthma. Symptoms such as wheezing, cough, unable to undertake normal activities, walking from sleep and shortness of breath could be indicators of poorly controlled asthma.

As such, the alternative medication should be tried. For this reason, patients need to appreciate the different types of inhalers that exist and their proper usage. Murphy (2011) cites dry powder inhalers and metered dose inhalers, MDIs as some examples of the common examples. There are also nebulizers which allow the intake of medicine as fine steady mist. According to National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NHLBI (2012), patients also need to be educated on medicines and their side effects so that they can report such side effects so as to assist healthcare providers in prescribing appropriate medicines.

These include nausea and vomiting, bronchitis, throat irritation and voice hoarseness among others. Children could experience ear, nose and throat infections. Family and friends have always believed in keeping warm as a critical way to control asthma. This has included putting on warm clothing and staying away from cold environments. They have been keen to ensure that the patients carry medicine wherever they go to. Such medicines would be used to reduce asthma symptoms when they flare-up. However, it would have helped more to appreciate that cold is not the only trigger for asthma as documented by Le and Simon (2006).

Other factors such as dust, mould and pollen also cause episodes of asthma. Thus, it would have been more beneficial if they worked with the doctor to determine the best approach to adopt. In fact, Murphy (2011) recommends the importance of discussing with the doctor on medicines that would ensure such a patient remains active as inactivity could worsen asthma condition. Additionally, finding the appropriate medication could encompass substituting the short term relief medicines with long term control to help control specific symptoms, including airway inflammation.

Thus, even with no treatment for asthma, appropriate and individualized measures as discussed with the doctor would be beneficial in curbing the associated symptoms.


American Lung Association. (2014). Asthma. Retrieved 25 March 2014 from

Le, A. V. & Simon, R. A. (2006). The difficult-to-control asthmatic: A systematic approach. Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, 2, 109 – 116.

Murphy, W. (2011). Asthma. Minneapolis, MA: Twenty-First Century Books.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2012, June 15). Explore asthma. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 25 March 2014 from

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