Symptoms Of An Asthma: How Can You Tell If You Have Asthma?

1211 words - 5 pages

The word Asthma, in its original Greek form (ἅσθμα, or ásthma) (akin to aázein) means “panting” or “to breath hard”. Panting and heavy breathing are common visible symptoms of an individual who has Asthma. “Asthma is fairly common, and can be described as chronic inflammatory disease of the airways, characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction and bronchospasm” (NHLBI, 2007). The most common symptoms of this disease are coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath, which are all visible as well as a feeling of tightness in the chest.

According to the World Health Organization (2011) “Some 235 million people currently suffer from asthma, and it is the most common chronic disease among children.” The Center for Disease Control (2012) estimates that “6.8 million Children in the U.S. have been diagnosed and suffer from Asthma. That adds up to nearly 10% of all children in the U.S.” While Asthma is, from my experience, generally thought of as a juvenile disease, it also affects a large number of adults. According to the same report by the Centers for Disease Control (2012), 18.7 million adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with asthma, which equates to roughly 8% of the population. In the year 2007 3,447 deaths were reported as asthma related in the U.S. by the Centers for Disease Control. “The number of individuals with asthma continues to grow. One in 12 people (about 25 million, or 8% of the population) had asthma in 2009, compared with 1 in 14 (about 20 million, or 7%) in 2001. The greatest rise in asthma rates was among black children (almost a 50% increase) from 2001 through 2009” ( Centers for Disease Control 2012) There are currently several theories as to why there has been such a large increase, none of which I have found particularly convincing. Some suggest that there is no increase in actual cases, just an increase in diagnoses. Studies have also been done linking urbanization to the increase, however they are vague and are not entirely sure what the correlation is. In my opinion, there is a combination of factors leading to the increase, not just one or the other.
How can you tell if you have asthma? Symptoms of an asthma attack include coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and trouble exhaling air. I personally have asthma, and the most common issue for me is expelling air. It can often feel like you don’t actually have air in your lungs or like your throat closes when you try to exhale, kind of like breathing through a small straw. Asthma can be particularly hard to diagnose in children and older adults. For example; in young children it can be difficult to judge the severity of the problem, and kids are not always very good at expressing what is wrong or bothering them. In adults, asthma can be confused with other health problems. For example, tightness in the chest can be a sign of a heart attack; however it generally becomes more obvious after tests are run in such a case. The best...

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