Respiratory Infections

Name the most common triggers for asthma in any given patient and specify in your answer which ones you consider applied to D.R. in the case study.

Triggers initiate immuno-response mechanisms in respiratory organs which results in asthmatic episodes. Some common triggers include allergens, respiratory infections, and pharmaceutical compounds. Allergens refer to substances whose inhalation triggers immune responses despite their harmlessness. Some people’s genetic makeup predisposes them to such responses when exposed to dust, smoke, pollen, animals, latex, foods like nuts, and insect stings. Contact with these compounds results in inflammation and asthma attacks whose severity varies with the amount and period of exposure (Henderson, 2019).

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Similarly, respiratory infections trigger asthma as well. These infections contribute to disease morbidity and mortality through consistent stimulation of inflammation with disregard for compliance with asthma prescriptions. This stimulation takes the guise of cellular damage resulting from pathogenic invasion of respiratory organs. The body’s immune response targets leukocytes, antibodies, and protective compounds at invaded sites to eliminate exogenous threats. Respiratory organs, which are hypersensitive to such material, react by exhibiting different behaviors including constrictions that hinder normal physiological mechanisms and present asthmatic attacks. Examples of such infections include colds, flu, pneumonia, COVID-19, and tuberculosis (Henderson, 2019).

D.R’s asthma attacks resulted from a secondary respiratory infection. The second condition is evidenced by the presentation of additional symptoms inconsistent with common asthma episodes. Nocturnal cough, chest tightness, and wheezing are the most common presentations since more than 30% of patients report one of the three (Narendra & Hanania, 2018). Tachypnea and reduced peak flow rates are consistent with asthma symptoms. However, some of D.R’s clinical presentations suggest a second condition. Symptoms like watery eyes, congested nose, and post-nasal drainage prevail in the common cold than in asthma. More than half of common cold patients complain of both watery eyes and stuffed noses while less than 5% of asthma patients report similar presentations (Narendra & Hanania, 2018). This prevalence suggests that D.R. is suffering from the common cold as well, which triggers moderate persistent episodes.

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