Exploration of A&P and Pathophysiology
Jessica has been feeling unwell for the last 2 days with cold like symptoms, clear
discharge from her nose, low grade fever and occassional coughing at night. The
following nigh Jessica woke short of breath. Jessic’s mother, Anne , also noticed
that jessica’s breathing was quite noisy.
Anne, jessica’s mother sat jessica upright, found her salbutamol puffer and
spacer which was on her bedside table and administered six puffs bia her spacer
as instructed by the asthma nurse at her local GP practice. Jessic’s breathing
appeared to settle not long after the puffer and she then went back to sleep.
Anne woke with a start 2 hrs later and rushed to jessica’s room and found her
becoming increasingly short of breath and coughing continously. Anne gave
Jessica a further 6 puffs of salbutamol through her spacer. Jessica’s breathing
did not appear to be improving, so Anne decided that they should go to the
One of jessica’s cousin is a second year student nurse. He tells you he doesn’t
understand the pathophysiology of asthma and how it affects the respiratory
system. Jessica’s mother Anne asks you to explain to him the pathophysiology of
asthma and how it affects the respiratory system using the correct medical and
nursing terminology. You are also to explain two signs and symptoms that the
patient jessica has presented, therefore, shortness of breath and
wheezing/coughing and explain why they manifested as part of the
Pathophysiology of Asthma
Asthma is a long-lasting inflammatory ailment of the breathing systems. It can be
classified in different ways; physiologically, pathologically and bronchoconstriction.
Physiologically it can be observed asanadjustable. It can also be partly reversible by
blocking of airflow just as in the case of Jessica. Your aunt Anne, following doctor’s
instructions used salbutamol puffer and aspacer to reverse the blocked air.
Pathologically it comes with overdeveloped mucus glands and airway thickens
due to scarring inflammation andbronchoconstriction and thinning of the respiratory
system in the lungs due to the tightening of adjoiningsoft muscles.It has many symptoms
and among them is feeling extreme cold, clear discharge from the nose, low-grade fever and
frequently coughing at night. These symptoms of asthma have implications for the diagnosis,
management, and potential prevention of the disease (Murphy, 2011, Pg. 78).
Pathophysiology or physiopathology is a word that is formed by the combination
of two words;pathology andphysiology. Pathology is a medical discipline that is used to
explain conditions that are initially seen during a disease and in this case, Jessica’s
ailment, On the other hand, physiology is the biological word for defining procedures or
methods which operate within a person. Pathology has always been used to describe
the irregular or undesired disorder. On the other hand, pathophysiology tries to explain
the physiological processes or mechanisms in which such a condition grows and
advances. (Marthan., R, et al. 2014, pg. 153)
Pathophysiology is also used to mean the functional variations related with or
resulting from illness or injury. Lastly, it can also be defined as the practical changes
that accompany a specific disease.
How it affects the respiratory system
During an asthma incident, swollen breathing system react to environmental
activates such as smoke, dust, or pollen. The airways become narrow due to excess
mucus, these makes breathing difficult. In essence, asthma is the result of aresilient
response in the bronchial airways (Loo, 2009, Pg. 67). The airways of asthma patients
are oversensitive to certain activates, also known as stimuli. In response to exposure to
these triggers, the bronchi having large airways contract into spasm that is an attack by
asthma. Further Inflammationleads to further narrowing of the breathing system due to
excessive mucusthat is produced. This causes coughing and other breathing difficulties.
Bronchospasm may resolveimpulsively in a period of two hours, or in about half of the
subjects, may become part of a delayed response.
This initial insult is followed three to twelve hours later with further
bronchoconstriction and inflammation.The normal ability of the bronchus is usually
maintained by a stableoperative found in the autonomic anxious system. Both of them
function involuntarily. The parasympathetic impulse circle having afferent nerve finales
that originates underneath the inner linings of the bronchus. Whenever these afferent
nerve endings are stimulated by different things such as dust, cold air or fumes,
impulses travel to the brain-stem called the vagal center, and then it moves down the
vagal efferent pathway up to the bronchial small breathing system (Harver & Kotses,
2010, pg. 585). When it reaches here acetylcholine is released from the afferent nerve
endings which results in the extreme creation of inositol one, four and5-trisphosphate
(IP3) in the bronchial smooth muscle cells which lead to muscle shortening and this
initiates bronchoconstriction that brings the chest problems of difficulty in breathing that
is called asthma (Murphy, 2011, pg. 46).
Shortness of breath in asthma and its manifestation
Asthma is a lifetime ailment that makes someone’s lungs hypersensitive and
hard to breathe. It is an incurable disease, but with right treatment, people with asthma
can lead healthy, active lives. Shortness of breath is a feeling whereby you get a
dyspnea. Dyspnea is having a difficulty in breathing. If one has asthma, their breathing
passages are highly sensitive. Some things can thereby make their respiratory system
encounter some problems. One of the problems faced is swollen and blocked airways.
This is as a result of excessive mucus. The swelling and mucus make the respiratory
system narrow. This causes difficulty in breathing. This is one of the primary signs of an asthma
patient even before diagnosis is carried out (Wolfson & Montgomery-Downs, 2013, Pg. 751).
Other symptoms of asthma include wheezing, chest tightness and chronic cough as in the case of
Jessica.There is no medical terminology for shortness of breath. Asthma patients will frequently
describe this trouble of breathing in different ways. While others call it unable to catch
my breath, others call it gasping for breath. (WebMD. 2015)
Wheezing and in asthma and its manifestation
These are some of the most common asthma symptoms and are often the
purpose why many people look out for care. Wheezing makes a patient produce a high-
pitched sound during respiration. Mostly, it occurs when he patient breaths out but can
also be heard when they breath in. The narrowing of the respiratory passages due to
inflammation is the primary cause of wheezing.
Marthan., R, et al. 2014. Pathophysiology of asthma. Europe Pub Med CenteMorris., J, et
al.2015. Asthma. Medscape
WebMD. 2015. Symptoms of Asthma. Medical Health Center.
Murphy, W. B. (2011). Asthma. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books.
Wolfson, A. R., & Montgomery-Downs, H. (2013). The Oxford handbook of infant, child, and
adolescent sleep and behavior.
Loo, M. (2009). Integrative medicine for children. St. Louis, Mo: Saunders/Elsevier.
Harver, A., & Kotses, H. (2010). Asthma, health, and society: A public health perspective. New