Application: Asthma

Complications of asthma can be sudden. Consider the case of Bradley Wilson, a young boy who had several medical conditions. He appeared in good health when he went to school, returned home, and ate dinner. However, when he later went outside to play, he came back inside wheezing. An ambulance took him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead (Briscoe, 2012). In another case, 10-year-old Dynasty Reese, who had mild asthma, woke up in the middle of the night and ran to her grandfather’s bedroom to tell him she couldn’t breathe. By the time paramedics arrived, she had passed out and was pronounced dead at the hospital (Glissman, 2012). These situations continue to outline the importance of recognizing symptoms of asthma and providing immediate treatment, as well as distinguishing minor symptoms from serious, life-threatening symptoms. Since these symptoms and attacks are often induced by a trigger, as an advanced practice nurse, you must be able to help patients identify their triggers and recommend appropriate treatment options. For this reason, you need to understand the pathophysiological mechanisms of chronic asthma and acute asthma exacerbation.

To prepare:

·        Review “Asthma” in Chapter 26 of the Huether and McCance text. Identify the pathophysiological mechanisms of chronic asthma and acute asthma exacerbation. Consider how these disorders are similar and different.

·        Select a patient factor different from the one you selected in this week’s Discussion: genetics, gender, ethnicity, age, or behavior. Think about how the factor you selected might impact the pathophysiology of both disorders. Reflect on how you would diagnose and prescribe treatment of these disorders for a patient based on the factor you selected.

·        Review the “Mind maps—Dementia, Endocarditis, and Gastro-oesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)” media in the Week 2 Learning Resources. Use the examples in the media as a guide to construct two mind maps—one for chronic asthma and one for acute asthma exacerbation. Consider the epidemiology and clinical presentation of both chronic asthma and acute asthma exacerbation.

To complete:

Write a 2- to 3-page paper that addresses the following:

·        Describe the pathophysiological mechanisms of chronic asthma and acute asthma exacerbation. Be sure to explain the changes in the arterial blood gas patterns during an exacerbation.

·        Select a patient factor different from the one you selected in week 6 Discussion and Explain how the factor you selected might impact the pathophysiology of both disorders.

·        Describe how you would diagnose and prescribe treatment for a patient based on the factor you selected.

·        Construct two mind maps—one for chronic asthma and one for acute asthma exacerbation. Include the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and clinical presentation, as well as the diagnosis and treatment you explained in your paper.



·        Huether, S. E., & McCance, K. L. (2012). Understanding pathophysiology (Laureate custom ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

o   Chapter 25, “Structure and Function of the Pulmonary System”

This chapter provides information relating to the structure and function of the pulmonary system to illustrate normal pulmonary function. It focuses on gas transport to build the foundation for examining alterations of pulmonary function.

o   Chapter 26, “Alterations of Pulmonary Function”

This chapter examines clinical manifestations of pulmonary alterations and disorders of the chest wall and pleura. It covers the pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, evaluation, and treatment of obstructive lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis, and emphysema.

o   Chapter 27, “Alterations of Pulmonary Function in Children”

This chapter focuses on alterations of pulmonary function that affect children. These alterations include disorders of the upper and lower airways.

·        McPhee, S. J., & Hammer, G. D. (2010). Pathophysiology of disease: An introduction to clinical medicine (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Medical.

o   Chapter 9, “Pulmonary Disease”

This chapter begins with an overview of normal structure and function of the lungs to provide a foundation for examining various lung diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

·        Iannuzzi, M. C., Rybicki, B. A., & Teirstein, A. S. (2007). Sarcoidosis. The New England Journal of Medicine357(21), 2153–2165.
Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article provides information relating to the epidemiology, genetic features, clinical presentation, and diagnosis of sarcoidosis. It also examines how several body systems are impacted by organ involvement.


·        Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2012e). Mid-course review. Baltimore, MD: Author.

This media is an interactive mid-course review covering course content.

Optional Resources (Can visit these websites and find resources)

·        American Lung Association. (2012). Retrieved from

·        Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. (2012). Retrieved from

·        Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. (2012). Retrieved from


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