Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition with underlying inflammation of the airway. It is characterised by episodes of constriction and increased mucous production (Maslan & Mims, 2014). Asthma affects anyone from children to adults and can be present through many different types such as atopic and intrinsic (Maslan & Mims, 2014).
The physiology of normal respiration involved contraction of the diaphragm and other inspiratory muscles. This leads to the expansion of the lungs which means there is increased volume in the lungs and decreased alveoli pressure. During inspiration, the inspiratory muscles have to work to overcome the frictional forces of airway resistance and elastic resistance of the lung and chest wall (Barrow & Pandit, 2017). Expiration involves the relaxation of inspiration muscles (Barrow & Pandit, 2017).
Asthma is characterised by episodes of bronchial obstruction that are reversible either with time or medication (Clancy & Blake, 2018). A person with asthma has bronchial tubes that are sensitive to various stimuli, or triggers that can produce asthma symptoms. Symptoms that people with asthma commonly experience are chest tightening, coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing (Clancy & Blake, 2018).
Pharmacology plays a vital role in asthma development (Clancy & Blake, 2018). Symptoms relievers are used for the immediate treatment and relief of an asthma attack. Inhaled short acting beta-2 agonists such as Salbutamol more widely known as Ventolin provide rapid relief of symptoms (Clancy & Blake, 2018). Salbutamol and other relievers should be used to treat active symptoms or prevent any imminent bronchoconstriction (Clancy & Blake, 2018). It is important to note that other medications may also interact with salbutamol including beta blockers, some diuretics and tricyclic anti-depressants (Doeing & Solway, 2013).
Effective nursing care for patients involves the knowledge of the pathophysiology and pharmacology of asthma. In order to lessen and prevent asthma attacks patients should be educated about the signs and symptoms of asthma and its triggers to avoid. They need to also be educated on the purpose and actions of the asthma medication prescribed (Maslan & Mims, 2014).
Asthma is a complex condition and although it is not a new condition, research is still being conducted to further medical and physiology understanding.