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Asthma Among African Americans Essay

1606 words - 7 pages

Imagine feeling like you cannot breathe; you are drying up like a fish out of water. You start to feel tightness in your chest then you begin wheezing and you look for the device that had often relieved your symptoms of asthma, knowing if you do not find your inhaler you could be flopping on the floor until consciousness is lost. Some asthmatics say it feels like your trying to breathe through a straw. This feeling is due to the inflammation caused by a trigger that causes the narrowing of the airway leading to the chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. Asthma is the most common chronic disease affecting people today. Asthma is described as an epidemic rather than ...view middle of the document...

“Ethnic differences in asthma prevalence, morbidity, and mortality are highly correlated with poverty, urban air quality, indoor allergens, and lack of patient education and inadequate medical care.” (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America)
Asthma is caused by the inflammation of the bronchial airways, which are the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. The inflammation causes the airways to narrow. As the asthma worsens, three primary asthma pathophysiology changes take place in your lungs. Increased mucus as your airway becomes irritated and inflamed. The thick mucus may clog the airways of the lungs. Inflammation and swelling, just as your ankle swells from the irritation caused by a twisted ankle, the airways of your lungs swell in response to whatever is causing your asthma attack. Muscle tightening, as the smooth muscles in your airways tighten in response to your asthma attack, the airways become smaller which in turn, causes coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Not all people who have asthma experience these symptoms and if you do experience these symptoms, it does not automatically mean you have asthma. A physician will conduct thorough testing which should include a physical exam and may include some diagnostic tests such as a lung function test, allergy testing, chest x-ray or an electrocardiogram. Inflammation of the airways is common in all asthma patients. There is no cure for asthma, but most people can control the condition and lead normal active lives especially if they know their triggers. Triggers include allergens from dust, animal fur, cockroaches, mold, and pollens from trees, grasses, and flowers. Some irritants include cigarette smoke, air pollution, chemicals, and dust in workplace and household products. Over the counter medications such as aspirins and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and non-selective beta-blockers can be triggers as well.
Asthma affects people of all ages, and the prevalence has increased over the past two decades. In 2011, almost 4,300,000 non-Hispanic Blacks reported that they currently have asthma, and African Americans were 20% more likely to have asthma than non-Hispanic Whites in 2011. In 2009, African Americans were three times more likely to die from asthma related causes than the white population. From 2003 to 2005, African American children had a death rate seven times that of non-Hispanic White children. African Americans had asthma-related emergency room visits 2.8 times more often than Whites in 2009, and black children are 3.6 times more likely to visit the emergency department for asthma, as compared to non-Hispanic white children (The Office of Minority Health).
When you begin nursing care for a patient with asthma, you will first complete a quick assessment. Try to gather the essential information if possible, such as medication allergies, known cardiac disease, and sleep disruption. Then immediately take action...

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