Overview on Asthma
Ill health is an integral part of the life of people that has substantial impact on its quality and length. Human beings are eminently affected by a number of conditions, which vary according to a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors surrounding an individual (University of Salford, 2008). It is uncommon for people to life entire life starting from conception all the way to death as a result of old age without having an episode of disease attack. However, the mechanism to prevent and fight these infections determines the severity of the condition in an individual. In this connection, sound and profound strategies need to be invented and implemented to minimize predisposition and vulnerability of individuals to the ample diseases. The effects of diseases to an individual will also be determined by the nature of the condition, whether it is acute or chronic condition (Asthma Foundation Victoria, 2012). This report provides evaluation of social, cultural, economic, and environmental factors associated with an asthma patient in Nigeria.
Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the respiratory system. The disease arises as a result of irritation along the airway tract elicited by allergic particles being inhaled. Different people react differently to allergens, depending on the variation in the immunologic nature of their bodies. In some cases, particles that illicit allergic reactions to a number of individuals may hold not point in their allergens lists (Corso & Fertig, 2011). On contrary, other people are so vulnerable to foreign particles that their bodies react severally to a variety of particles, such as perfumes, dust, smells, pollen and humidity, which are characterized as innocuous in a normal environment.
The importance of focusing on asthma and understanding the best management strategies to institute among the affected individuals is motivated by the numbers of the population affected by this condition. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, asthma attacks approximately 12% of the American population (Lara et al. 2012). The total population of individual succumbing from this condition, in America, totals to over 5000 individuals. Moreover, the federal government in the USA uses over $13 billion for the asthma treatment. It is hypothesized that the condition is worse in the developing world, though minimal data are documented on the cases. Therefore, it is significantly crucial to focus on this condition and determine how the condition influences the individual’s life.
Evaluation of Patient’s Story
Asthma attack has no limitations with respect to age, social class, geographical location or gender. Despite the fact that some of these factors can predispose an individual to asthma, the condition cuts across a wide range of boundaries in a population. For instance, it can develop at an early or old age, like in the case of the patient evaluated in this report. The client discussed had his first attack of the disease at the age of 55 years.
The environmental condition that provoked the condition surrounds taking cold drinks and rate night food. The client is said to have taken cold drink and had taken a late dinner before sleeping. From the history provided by the client, he had a history of heavy drinking, which triggers the idea that he was used to the taking of cold drinks for a number of years. Cold drinks, such as iced alcohol, triggers airway constriction as the body act to maintain homeostasis preventing excessive loss of heat. On top of this, alcohol can also lead to asthmatic attacks as the patient aspirate and inhales the smells and fumes of the drink. Therefore, judging from this point of view, John (patient being evaluated) could have succumbed to these two factors prompting the asthmatic attacks. From the patient encounter, the weather is said to have been cold which could have exacerbated the consequences and severity of the condition. According to a report by Akinbami et al. (2012), alcohol consumption is a factor of concern among the group with asthma. Individuals affected by asthma are advised to abstain from alcohol consumption, thus, reducing the incidences of asthmatic attack.
Asthma is associated with poverty (Akinbami et al., 2012). The prevalence of asthma among people living below the poverty line is higher than that of individuals who are financially stable. This is associated with the nature of environmental sanitation of the places they are living in. Poor people tend to reside in houses that are poorly ventilated, damp or dusty, and molds culminating to highly polluted air. The poor nutritional status associated with this group also contributes to low immunity (Schiffman, 2012). This leads to increased susceptibility of hypersensitivity on simple and rather common particles causing asthma. These factors have the potential to contributed to development of asthma in the patient, in question. The patient is said to have developed the condition and severity after sleeping. It can be argued that the patient could have been exposed to dust, dumpy or moldy conditions in the house, which provoke the hypersensitivity reaction.
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Taking a late night meal is also another factor that has been associated with asthmatic episodes. According to Ahmad et al (2009), possibility of aspirating food particle, drinks and blood shunting immediately after eating are factors that are contributed by late night meals that can lead to asthma. This is clearly observed from the history behind the patient in question. He is said to have taken food after drinking. The patient is also obese, a condition that has a direct relation with asthma. Study of Ahmad et al (2009) revealed that there was a high prevalence of asthma among people who are obese. Obesity among children is said to raise the risk of acquiring asthma by 6 – 9 percent over that of non-obese kids. In this connection, development of asthma could have been promoted by the fact that the patient was growing obese. According to studies (Bootman, Crown & Luskin, 2004), people tend to develop obesity as they age, due to reduce level of activities.
Asthmatic Effects to the Patient’s Life
Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the patient life for a long time (Corso & Fertig, 2011). The effects of the condition range from individual, family level to community level. The fact that the patient has to live with the condition for the better part of his life poses significant challenges in his life. In a contemporary world setup, the individual has to be productive enough to maintain decent life. Having a chronic condition that affect the respiratory system can be detrimental, not only health wise, but also socially.
According to the patient story set up, the society has a negative attitude towards people suffering from asthmatic attack. It is not socially accepted, and individuals suffering from this condition are stigmatized. They do not feel free to share the secret of their condition with the community members due to fear of being rejected. John keeps the news about his condition secluded in his family members who straggle to find a cure for one of their own, without signaling the community members. However, this happens to affect the patient psychologically to the point of failing to take the medication in public. The patient is stressed up, and ends up blaming himself for having the condition, as if he has the control to shut and ignite the occurrence.
In a society where stigmatization is high, the affected individual lacks the community support system which is crucial in fighting the condition. The community can also help the individual come in terms with the condition and accept the status. This plays a crucial role in the psychological health of individuals. This is what lacks in John’s community. The family seems to be supportive in trying to help him crack the solution for this condition. The poor mechanisms in the society build a strong feeling of rejection to a point of shunning down social interaction and reducing the level of personal commitment to community programs (Gelfand, 2008). The feeling of rejection builds in a negative attitude towards life ensues. The individual’s emotional well-being is also affected.
The patient is also forced to cut down some of his social and lifestyle activities. Once diagnosed with the condition, the patient is advised to abstain from exposing himself to the environment that can trigger the hypersensitivity reactions. According to Schiffman (2012), management of asthma requires both medical and protective measures. The medical measure requires the patient to take bronchial dilators in case of attack, or during the episode. However, since the condition happens in an episode, it becomes difficult to predict when the next episode will happen. Therefore, the patient has to move with the bronchial dilators medication at all times. Patients are advised by their doctors to avoid exposure of the triggering factors; thus, avoid an occurrence of the asthmatic episodes. The patient is initially exposed to allergens to determine the particles that elicit the condition. Once they are identified, patient is advised to avoid places where they can encounter the particles.
The patient has to abstain from taking alcohol, cold drinks, fried food and eating late. On top on these precautions, the patient had to avoid smoky, dusty, humid places as well as places with strong orders (Zurko, 2012). These environments can easily trigger an attack. In this connection, life has to be redefined to fit these environments that will maintain the patient in a safer situation. The patient had to part with his alcohol drinking.
Asthma is associated with shortness of breath. Individuals suffering from this condition will have to reduce the level of activities and sport. These activities lead to increased demand for oxygen exacerbating dyspnea, chest tightness, palpitations, and syncope at the extreme side, if not death. The conditions inflict fear of engaging in sports and activities that are at the safe limit with their condition. Many individuals would fail to engage in sport even when they have been advised by their physician in fear of complications. Psychologically, they are ensnared in the world of fear of succumbing in the asthmatic complication. This will be mostly common in cases when the affected individual finds himself in a compromising situation. The fact that the patient is no longer engaging in exercises and sport promote the condition by reducing the tidal volume. People who exercise are able to survive under poor oxygen supply conditions (Hiangkiat, 2009).
The patient was obese, and lacks exercise would accelerate the rate of obesity, which leads to other life threatening complications, such as heart conditions. Instead of the patient going on with his weight reduction practices, he was forced to cut them down in fear of complicating asthma. In the same vein, the patient hand to be cautious with the work that he was engaging to avoid contamination. Performing demanding or strenuous task would contribute to asthmatic attacks. Moreover, the work location has to offer a favorable environment that does not contribute to asthmatic attack (Melissal, 2010). This changes the patient to be choosy in a variety of occupations available not only on the basis of qualification or passion, but also compatibility with asthmatic condition.
Economically, the patient productivity goes down, leading to difficulties in maintaining comfortable financial support to the family and significant others. Being the bread winner, like many of the Nigerians homestead, (Ozoh & Bandela, 2011) the family relied on him for financial support. Succumbing to the condition in a society with chronic conditions stigmatization, securing and maintaining a job is incredibly difficult. The cost of managing the condition poses another challenge to both the patient and family members. The consistent need for inhaler needed to prevent complications of asthma requires money that may be a challenge to the family (Gelfand, 2008). It should be noted that asthmatic symptoms need to be controlled adequately and immediately before they complicate. Compromising the respiratory system inhibits all the other systems since oxygen is vital for every cell in the body.
The management regiment for asthmatic condition was questionable. The client was misdiagnosed as having pneumonia. However, thanks to the media adverts the man has diagnosed his condition appropriately. Lack of trust in the hospital medications, which were not relieving the asthmatic symptoms, led to engaging in alternative medicine. Nigeria as a nation is known for well establish African magic “juju” (Oni, Erhabor, & Egbagbe, 2010) which attracts client seeking answers for many unsolved problems in the society. Therefore, the patient decided to sort treatment outside the hospital setup. This act reveals two facts. First, the patient was extremely desperate for a solution to the menace and secondly. Second, the community believes herbal medicine to be more appropriate than the medication from the hospital.
In conclusion, asthmatic condition develops out of an allergic reaction elicited by particles causing inflammation along the respiratory tract system. There are a numbers of environmental, social, cultural and economic factors that contribute to the development of asthma, burden of which varies from one locality to another and from one individual to another. The condition, being a chronic complication, affects the life of the patient dramatically and leads to modification of lifestyle to suit the new demands.
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