Bronchial tube (normal)
Bronchial tube (asthma)

Asthma is a chronic respiratory illness that primarily affects the lungs and the respiratory system. It is a condition that causes narrowing of the airways and inflammation, making it difficult to move air. This can cause various symptoms, including wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. In this essay, we will analyze the effects of asthma on the function and structure of the respiratory system.

Chronic inflammation is the hallmark of asthma, and it can profoundly impact the structure of the respiratory system. As a result, the lungs’ airways become inflamed and swollen, leading to airway remodeling. This remodeling can include changes to the airway walls, increased mucus production, and smooth muscle hypertrophy, which can cause the airways to become narrower and more prone to obstruction. As a result, the airways become less responsive to air pressure and flow changes, making breathing harder.

One of asthma’s most significant structural effects on the respiratory system is the development of airway hyper-reactivity. This means the airways become more sensitive to various stimuli, such as exercise, allergens, and cold air. This hyper-reactivity can cause the airways to narrow even further, leading to increased wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.

The functional effects of asthma on the respiratory system are primarily related to the obstruction of the airways. The narrowing of the airways caused by inflammation and remodeling can cause reduced airflow in and out of the lungs. This can make it harder for oxygen to get into the lungs and for carbon dioxide to be removed, leading to respiratory failure in severe cases.

Asthma can also cause hyperinflation when the air becomes trapped in the lungs due to the obstruction of the airways. This can lead to dynamic hyperinflation, where the lungs become overinflated and stiff, making breathing even harder. This can cause a risk of respiratory failure

In addition to the respiratory effects, asthma can have systemic effects on the body. Chronic inflammation can cause oxidative stress, contributing to the development of other respiratory diseases is entirely possible.COPD and cardiovascular disease. Asthma has also been associated with an increased risk of anxiety and depression, impacting overall health and quality of life.

In conclusion, asthma significantly affects the function and structure of the respiratory system. The chronic inflammation associated with asthma can cause airway remodeling and hyper-reactivity, leading to reduced airflow, respiratory failure, and hyperinflation of the lungs. These effects can impact overall health and quality of life, and it is crucial to manage and treat asthma effectively to prevent these harmful effects.

In my media presentation, I constructed two bronchial tubes out of play-doh. One bronchial tube was presented as a normal tube without the impact of asthma. The other tube was presented as a tube affected by asthma and had green play-doh to represent mucous buildup. It is obvious to the eye that normal bronchial tubes allow for better air movements in and out of the lungs. Asthma-affected bronchial tubes construct and leave less room for air movement. This will in turn create difficulty while breathing.References

Bleecker, E. R., Menzies-Gow, A. N., Price, D. B., Bourdin, A., Sweet, S., Martin, A. L., Alacqua, M., & Tran, T. N. (2020). Systematic literature review of systemic corticosteroid use for asthma management. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine201(3), 276–293.

Martinez, F. D. (2009). The origins of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in early life. Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society6(3), 272–277.

Peters, M. C., Mekonnen, Z. K., Yuan, S., Bhakta, N. R., Woodruff, P. G., & Fahy, J. V. (2014). Measures of gene expression in sputum cells can identify TH2-high and TH2-low subtypes of asthma. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology133(2), 388-394.e5. 

One Comment

  1. Asthma is a condition referring to chronic respiratory inflammation affecting the regulation of the respiratory system. Symptoms of asthma include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. The hallmark symptom of asthma is chronic respiratory inflammation which can affect the structure of the lungs. A result of chronic inflammation is lung airway edema and inflammation leading to airway remodeling. This remodeling results in increased mucus production and smooth muscle hypertrophy. This causes the airways to narrow making it increasingly hard to breathe. Asthma causes hypersensitivity to stimuli like pollen, exercise, or cold air. This results in airway narrowing causing the before-mentioned symptoms. Asthma functionally causes airway obstruction but can even result in respiratory failure in some cases. Even hyperinflation of the lungs due to air being trapped because of the obstruction. Asthma can also cause systemic effects like contributing to the development of COPD, cardiovascular disease, or other respiratory diseases. As shown what asthma does to respiratory airways when edema is caused is shown with play-doh.

    Ethan Packard

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