Asthma - Gather, process, analyze and present information from secondary sources on one respiratory condition caused by environmental factors

Essay by HalleHigh School, 11th grade July 2008

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Asthma is a breathing problem. It is a condition that affects the air way of the lungs, and can be categorised into 3 classifications, extrinsic (caused by a known allergen), intrinsic (attacks triggered by other agents e.g. viruses, exercise, emotions) and mixed (the commonest form, with characteristics of both extrinsic and intrinsic). It is a major public health problem affecting [1] 2.2 million people, including 1 in 6 children and 1 in 10 adults costing the Australian community over $700 million each year - in terms of medical costs and lost productivity. Asthma is usually a lifelong condition and although it is not hereditary one has a higher risk of getting asthma if a family member has it. [2] Dr. Paul states that if neither parent has asthma, the chances of each of their children having asthma are less than 10%. When one parent has asthma, the chances rise to 25%, and when both parents have asthma, the chances climb to 50%There are several factors which contribute to asthma, one of which being the environment.

Triggers are things that cause asthma attacks. The presence of these triggers in the environment often make asthma symptoms more frequent, more severe, and more difficult to control. There are a large number of allergens (substances that can produce an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive) in the environment. These include things such as dust mites. These are microscopic organisms found in homes, mattresses, curtains, carpet etc and several thousand can be found in a pinch of dust. [3]Dust mites are the most common trigger for asthma in Australia. Not only can dust mites trigger asthma, but their dropping, along with cockroach droppings, also contain allergens. Another common allergen is second hand smoke. Second hand smoke contains more than 4000 substances and when...