Asthma and long term lung effects

A young girl of about 7 years of age is standing on her bed, pressing her face against the window screen and trying hard to suck in some air because it feels like she can't get any in her lungs. At her cousin's house she proudly shows off to their friends how she can suck the air out of her pillow and wheeze. Sleepovers in tents are always brutal. She is sleeping on a feather pillow and her Mom has a vase, filled with Pompous grass, in the house both of which they didn't know she was allergic too. Both her Mother and Father are smokers, however, in the 1960's the correlation of smoking and higher incidences of asthma and respiratory infection were not well recognized.

What are the long-term effects on the lungs and health of this girl? Research speculates that allergic Asthma during these early years - when the lungs and airways are subject to rapid growth - may lead to changes in lung structure.

It is known that Asthma is a disease of inflammation. Many of us have scar tissue for an old wound. You might think of your airway in the same way. It's inflamed and while it is being treated and subsequently healed the airway is going to slowly change and react. This is known in the medical community as remodeling and also labelled scarring.

It used to be thought that lungs return to normal after an Asthma attack. Research is indicating that when Asthma is poorly managed it can sometimes lead to irreversible lung damage. It's important to understand whether your Asthma is really under control and learn about therapies that will help prevent permanent lung damage. A common Asthma therapy such as inhaled steroids is effective in reducing inflammation but may not be helpful in healing the tissues of the airways. There have been suggestions of Ginseng playing a role in healing the tissues of the airways.

People who grow into adulthood with lung function deficiencies are more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease during their late adult years.

In the 1960s the only therapy received by this young girl was allergy shots and the elimination of Asthma triggers in the household. Today, in her 40s, she experiences what seems like an abnormal shortness of breath upon moderate to extreme exercise after many years of participating in jogging and martial arts. In winter she will often feel a wheezing sensation while out for a walk and breathing cold air. She often wonders if these symptoms are something from early childhood Asthma or does she simply need to learn to breathe better. Considering she has been athletic most of her life the extremity of the shortness of breath seems out of line. These observations are in no way meant to be a diagnosis of any lung function deficiency resulting from Asthma but simply a reminder to be very diligent in observing and treating Asthma to avoid any long term lung damage.

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