Asthma in a Fitness/School Setting
For some, the agony of asthma may be an affliction only during childhood; for others, the illness persists throughout adulthood. The least fortunate are those who fall mortal victims. Asthma can kill. Medical science can offer only temporary relief at best. The deviousness of the disease defies almost all attempts at discovering a cure. Asthma can be mild; it can be devastating. Sometimes the symptoms disappear for many years but surface again with even greater severity.
In an asthmatic attack the diameter of the small bronchi is diminished as a result of spasm of the muscular coat, active congestion of the mucous membrane and excessive secretion of tough mucus. In inspiration the small bronchi are pulled open and the obstruction is thereby reduced. On the other hand, forced expiration tends to compress bronchi and increase the obstruction. Consequently inspiration is much easier than expiration; the difficult breathing of asthma differs in fact from all other forms of difficult breathing, in being mainly expiratory in character (Mezei, 1988). Not to be confused with asthma is a similar, but less intense, tightening of the bronchial muscles that occurs in people who are exposed to large amounts of noxious fumes, tobacco smoke, and other pollutants. The body attempts to protect itself against invasion by dangerous substances flowing into the lungs. The asthma victim, however, usually hypersensitive, overreacts with severe symptoms (Renard, 1996).
Asthma deaths in the country are steadily rising at an ever-increasing rate. Statistics indicated that about 4,000 Americans died from the disease in 1985, more than double the number only a decade ago. Society became more involved into the process of
determining why asthma death were increasing. A task force of immunology, chemistry, pulmonary medicine, and epidemiology researchers were charged with finding an answer, but their preliminary report only raised more questions. The rise in asthma deaths during the past decade has puzzled scientists and physicians. But while the severity of the disease appears to be increasing, many asthmatics are unwilling to lead the sedentary lives that some say their condition requires ("Asthmatics", 19XX).
As seen in many studies and research done in the past exercise can be both beneficial and deleterio...
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...with less respiratory distress can result from involvement in competitive athletics. The coach, teacher, and parents should share a common philosophy with the child, regarding competition. They should make the child aware that winning for an asthmatic does not necessarily mean coming in first place or having more points than the opposition. For an asthmatic, winning is wheeze-free participation (Dennis, 1985).
Asthma & Food: Know the facts. (1998, May). Executive Health's Good Health, 34, 8, 2.
Asthma deaths rising, but asthmatics don't have to give up exercise. (19XX). Aerobics for Asthmatics, Inc.
Dennis, Warren. (1985). What Every Physical Educator should know about Asthma. American Lung Association.
Excess pounds may lead to asthma. (1998, Jun). Tufts University Health & Nutritional Letter, 16, 2.
Exercise and Asthma. (1996). A.C.E. Fitness Matters, 2
Mezei, Gyorgyi. (1998). Physiotherapy of Asthma. Acta Microbiological et Immunological Hungarica, 45, 157-166.
Research shows exercise program benefits children with asthma. (1998, June 11). The New York Amsterdam News, 14.
William, Renard Jr. (1996). Asthma. Nutrition Health Review, 78, 10.
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