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Gaining basic understanding of your family’s medical history or the story of your family’s health is one of the most important activities available to people of all ages. Acquire this knowledge and improve the family’s ability to fight the onset of preventable diseases and lifestyle-induced ailments. In my case, some of my family members are suffering from the effects of high blood pressure, colon cancer, asthma, and diabetes. However, for the purpose of this study, my focus is to look into my mother’s struggle with asthma. A deeper understanding of asthma makes it possible to apply effective treatment and prevention strategies.
My mother is named Lakisha. She is a 38-year old African American woman. She weighs approximately 160 pounds. My mother adheres to the belief that she has asthma as a result of repeated exposure to second hand smoke. In her opinion, she has no known allergies.
Definition of the Disease
Ancient historians left behind recorded references of respiratory diseases, and they described the medical condition as “noisy breathing” (Allergy & Asthma Medical Group & Research Center, 2017). Hippocrates was the one who labeled the disease as asthma, a Greek word that was used to denote the idea of “wind or to blow”, perhaps an attempt to describe the wheezing sound produced by those suffering from the effects of the said condition (Allergy & Asthma Medical Group & Research Center, 2017).
Modern medicine defined asthma as a disease characterized by “recurring spasms of difficulty with breathing (Rizzo, 2011). Physicians pointed out that those with asthma produces wheezing sound when inhaling or exhaling (Rizzo, 2011). There are also instances when symptoms are manifested through coughing or shortness of breath (Rizzo, 2011).
Risk Factors and Physiological Factors
Experts in the field of anatomy and physiology shed some light into this ancient medical problem. They revealed that this medical condition is brought about by the “narrowing of the bronchial passageway” (Murphy, 2011). At the same time, air passages are being constricted by the buildup of mucous secretions, a process that occurs in the bronchial tubes (Murphy, 2011). Nevertheless, it is a challenge to pinpoint risk factors, because medical experts are unable to figure out the exact root cause of the said ailment. In other words, people are not predisposed to acquire this disease on the basis of weight issues, age, and diet. However, health specialists in the field of respiratory diseases made assertions that allergies are the culprits in asthma attacks (Rizzo, 2011). Although it is impossible to identify the ultimate causative factor, health experts are saying that the “inhalation of pollen, dust mites, animal dander, emotional stress, rigorous exercise or exposure to extremely cold air” may trigger the manifestation of an asthma attack (Murphy, 2011).
Treatment and Prevention
Before going any further into the discussion about treatment strategies, it is imperative to point out that symptoms may reverse spontaneously even without the application of proven medical procedures. For example, in 20 to 50 percent of cases of patients known to suffer from asthma attacks, doctors were able to document the absence of symptoms when patients reached the age of adolescence (Rizzo, 2011). However, in most cases, therapy is needed in order for the patient to become symptom-free (Rizzo, 2011). It is possible to accomplish this goal by evaluating the causative agent. It is also a common practice to use an aerosol bronchodilator or the short-term application of corticosteroids (Rizzo, 2011). It is also important to clarify that these drug-based intervention strategies are not going to treat asthma in the same way that medicines may purge the presence of pathogens that caused measles or cholera.
As discussed earlier asthma is a different type of disease, unlike those that are caused by bacteria or an unhealthy diet. In fact, asthma is a non-contagious disease. Thus, there is no clear prevention strategy that asthma-suffering patients may adopt in order to prevent the onset of the said medical condition. Nevertheless, it is prudent to take note of possible causative agents.
In the case of my mother, she repeatedly made it clear that her asthma problem has nothing to do with certain allergies. However, in the aftermath of seasonal changes, she struggles from shortness of breath and she requires medical attention. During specific times in a given year asthma attacks occur more frequently. She needed appropriate medical intervention in order to prevent complications rising out from more serious medical issues due to the inability to breath oxygen into her lungs.
It is prudent to develop prevention strategies based on the simple description of my mother’s health history. The development of the said prevention strategy must take into consideration the physiological factors linked to asthma attacks. Furthermore, an effective prevention effort is more effective after integrating insights regarding the causative agents associated to asthma attacks. After taking everything into consideration, one can make the argument that my mother will have to learn to live with seasonal bouts of asthma problems. Thus, it is important to monitor her health especially during certain times of the year when weather patterns may affect the temperature of the air, a phenomenon that specialist considered as one of the causative factors of asthma attacks.
It is interesting to note that health experts in the field of respiratory diseases are unable to pinpoint the exact root cause of asthma. This assertion about the inability to determine specific anatomical processes that may help explain the onset of symptoms manifested by the patients makes sense when perceived from the point of view of my mother’s health history. She suffers from shortness of breath each time she is afflicted with the manifestation of the said ailment. However, she made it clear that her asthma problems were in no way linked to allergies. Although it is safe to assume that changes in seasons or weather patterns are causative factors, there is no way to figure out the exact physiological process that may explain the said outcome. As a result, my family had to accept the fact that my mother is going to deal with this medical problem until a medical breakthrough cures asthma for good. At this point the best thing that her family members can hope for is the application of effective therapeutic-based interventions in order to remedy her discomfort each time she suffers from shortness of breath. Looking back to the process of collecting information linked to my mother’s medical issue made me realize the value of understanding a person’s family health history. It is of great value to understand the science behind a specific ailment or medical problem. Insights into common ailments like asthma and high blood pressure helps in the development of effective treatment or prevention strategies.
Allergy & Asthma Medical Group & Research Center. (2017). History of asthma. Web.
Murphy, W. (2011). Asthma. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books.
Rizzo, D. (2011). Introduction to physiology and anatomy. Mason, OH: Cengage.