Essay by jscatheyHigh School, 10th gradeA+, November 2002

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This was a report/essay i had to write for my highschool biology class. It was open for any topic concerning biology and i chose Asthma.


Asthma is a disorder that affects the respiratory system. Asthma causes the airways to the lungs to contract or shrink making it difficult for air to enter and exit the lungs. When this occurs, shortness of breath will take place and breathing will make rough wheezing sounds. This contracting can be reversed with special medications such as pills and inhalers. When an asthma attack occurs, and it is not stopped with an inhaler, the attack can become fatal.

According to Vincent E. Friedewald M.D. there is over 14,000 Americans suffering from asthma. In America 5,000 deaths a year are caused by asthma. Asthma affects both males and females, and people of all ages. Studies have shown that asthma is more common in cold climates and in industrialized countries.

Scientists also believe that second hand smoke can cause or worsen asthma.

Every part of the human body requires oxygen to work properly, and the lungs are the body's only way of getting that oxygen. Every time you take a breath the air travels through your mouth and throat. The air then travels through your voice box (larynx), and through the trachea. Once the air has reached the trachea, the trachea forks into two airways. These airways are called the right bronchus and the left bronchus. These tubes now take the air to the lungs. The air continues to move through the bronchi, where it divides into smaller passages called bronchioles. The bronchioles then come to a dead end of tiny little sacs called alveoli, which are covered in capillaries.

Once the air has reached the alveoli, the oxygen diffuses through the alveoli walls...