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One of the major public health problems facing Australia today is Asthma It is disturbing that there has been an apparent increase in its prevalence and severity and increased rates of hospital admissions EJComino 1996 For the diagnosed patient the degree to which he or she suffers is related to severity of the condition compliance with recommendations by medical experts the immediate environment and the effectiveness of education programs Like other major health problems asthma has varying degrees of symptoms As such the degree and frequency of the symptoms limits many aspects of the asthmatics life To describe the main limitations suffered by those with chronic asthma asthma must be defined Asthma is a condition whereby the sufferer has difficulty breathing due to widespread narrowing of the airways of the lungs This narrowing can be caused by a local inflammation of the air-ways muscle contraction or the production of excess mucus with in bronchi RRoberts 1996 Most common is bronchial asthma Medical definitions of asthma suggest that environmental triggers can substantially contribute to the occurrence of an asthma attack The review of asthma in Victoria 1988 by the Asthma Foundation of Victoria outlined infection exercise climatic conditions exposure to airborne irritants and emotional upsets as the main trigger factors However doctors use a general classification to identify a patients pattern of asthmaclassifying people who experience some symptoms of asthma on most days as having a chronic asthma condition The classification system also extends to the categories of children occupational asthma and asthma in later life Usually regular medication is required to keep the lungs functioning as normally as possible Some chronic asthmatics have severe symptoms over a long period of time and may require long term or indefinite medication to be able to lead a normal life Lane 1996 The most obvious limitations suffered relate to the asthmatics physiological dysfunction However physiological dysfunction can in turn contribute to greater social and psychological limitations
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