Essay about Asthma

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Breathing is a vital process for every human. Normal breathing is practically effortless for most people, but those with asthma face a great challenge. During an asthma attack, breathing is hampered, making it difficult or even impossible for air to flow through the lungs. Asthma is an increasingly common problem, and has become the most common chronic childhood disease. At least 17 million Americans suffer from it(1), and although it can be fatal, it is usually not that severe(4). There is no cure for asthma, but with proper care, it can usually be controlled.

As someone with Exercise Induced Asthma, I have personal experience with the topic. I have experienced most of the symptoms described in my research, tried
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It is also often referred to as the "windpipe." The trachea then branches off like a tree. The first splits of this "tree" are the bronchi, and the smallest branches are called the bronchioles. Thus after air travels through the trachea, it then reaches the bronchi, and spreads throughout the bronchioles.

Small air sacks called alveoli are at the tips of the bronchioles. When air reaches them, the oxygen concentration is high, which causes diffusion into red blood cells travelling through pulmonary capillaries (7). The red blood cells then distribute the new oxygen to the rest of the body. When they reach the alveoli again, they exchange carbon dioxide (a form of cell waste) for new oxygen, and repeat the process. The carbon dioxide is moved through the bronchioles, bronchi, and trachea in the form of exhalation.

The bronchi and bronchiole tubes are loosely wrapped with muscle. During regular breathing, the muscles around these airways are relaxed (5). This allows air to flow freely through these passageways to the alveoli. However, during an asthma attack, air has trouble reaching the alveoli, which prevents the body from receiving oxygen. This is because the airways become smaller. Firstly, the muscles around the airways spasm and contract. This then causes inflammation of the bronchioles and bronchi themselves, which causes a mucus to be produced.

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