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Pshycology Of Asthma

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In September of 1991, I had a severe asthma attack. The first couple of sentences I heard when I woke from passing out earlier were, "Zachary, what have you been doing? You gotta cut out playing basketball and those other sports so hard buddy," a nurse said. I was only eight when a nurse told me this. For a week I laid in the hospital thinking down on myself. I was moving closer and closer to believing that I couldn't be an effective athlete.

My father always told me that I could do all things as long as I put my head and heart into it. This was the first time in my life that I understood my disability. The words that my father branded into my soul were quickly overshadowed.

Over the years I tried to cope with my asthma. The main problem was, that my mother has asthma, and her father had asthma. Most doctors say that a child will grow out of their asthma. They encourage the fact that it will pass. My mother over fifty and she is on more than four asthma medications. For her, just to walk up the stairs is hell.

But there is another side of asthma than just medical. It is the emotional and mental aspect of it; the psychological effect on its sufferers. Most people without asthma do not know that asthma is a very hard thing to cope with. While growing up, a young person already has so many pressures and things to deal with.

As I grew up my parents focused on helping me gain strength and knowledge about my asthma, but no matter what they said I still felt that I was inferior to others. Peers will make the smallest imperfection a big deal. While I played sports, they laughed at me because I had an inhaler. They would take my medicine from me and spray it just for a quick laugh. Making fun of my breathing was also apart of the repertoire. They'd breathe rapidly and pretend like they were taking a puff of the inhaler, mocking me everyday. For this reason I could not stand my asthma, and I hated myself because of it.

The older I got, it seems the worst my asthma got. I went from one medication to two; two medications to three; three medications to four. I had at least one asthma attack a year and I was withheld from classes at least three weeks of the year because of asthmatic problems. Like most asthmatics, running and playing alone did not trigger my asthma. Allergies and asthma coincide. If you have a problem with asthma, you most likely will have an uncontrollable problem with allergies.

Allergies for an average person is already painful and a burden. But what if you had asthma? Asthma seems to amplify any other problem to probably double or triple the pain. Because of my asthma, I can't mow lawn without wearing a mask, do too much sweeping because of the dust, or even have carpet, because of the potential of all the dust and dirt that can get trapped in it.

Even the common cold is treacherous. For an asthmatic, a cold is like the flu, and the flu is like pneumonia. When I was younger, I was passed a basic cold. Many kids at my elementary school had it. But they were out maybe one day. On the other hand, I was out of school for about four days. When I coughed, it felt like I was going to throw up a lung. After I coughed I couldn't breathe. I couldn't take my medication because you're not supposed to overdose on the medicine. The problem with that was, there was no other way to control the wheezing and shortness of breath. So now, my eyes get puffy, I'm spewing up mucus, my lung feels like it has the capacity of a golf ball and my body is drained because of the cold and because my body is working so hard to deal with these other internal problems. It felt like there was no hope. And this was the basic, common cold. Just imaging what it would be like if I had the flu. There would definitely be a high chance that I would not be here today.

My asthma seemed to be triggered by everything. No matter what I did, in the process, I began to wheeze and be short of breath, struggling to take my inhaler. If I would do a short sprint, jog, or walk fast my asthma would be triggered. Those are the well-known causes of an asthma attack. But the one's the common person don't see or know are the ones that plague asthmatics the most. If I sneezed or coughed more than twice in a row, I would begin to breath heavily. If I laughed too long or too hard, my asthma will be triggered. A sudden change in weather will put me through a boatload of hell. In a young person's mind, this is something that you want to keep secret. Throughout my life a pray and ask God that my child does not end up like his father, an asthmatic.

For many years, people believed that asthma is psychosomatic. With all seriousness, asthma is not all in the head. Asthma is a real medical problem (Asthma and Other). Although it is true that stress can make asthma worse, it is not a key factor into why people have this ailment. Asthma is a very serious illness that not only affects children of young ages, but teens, young adults, and older people. Unfortunately, as one grows up, they carry their passed experiences and hatred of asthma with them. This gives them that on going conflict against asthma, destroying their mind and crippling them for a long time.

There are many causes for asthma. "Scientists are not sure why some people have asthma and others don't (Asthma and Other)." But scientists do know that some things that are involved with asthma are smoking, inheritance, allergies, and reactions to other medications. These four things are a big factor in how a person has asthma and how severe their case can be.

Most simply put, "Asthma is a disease that involves the bronchial tubes--the pipes that take the air into the lungs--and it is by definition an inflammatory process," says Gary Rachelefsky, an asthma expert and associate director of the Allergy Research Foundation in UCLA (Minnie). "The way to understand asthma is as if it were a cut that doesn't heal, and leads to irritated bronchial tubes (Minnie)."

"Asthma affects more than 17 million Americans, and 6 million of those affected are children (Minnie)." "Asthma is the leading serious chronic illness of children in the U.S. (Asthmattack)." Around five thousand people die from asthma every year. But it is true that over forty percent of people diagnosed with asthma are scarred mentally because of the drama asthma brings to their lives. A study done in the UK shows us how the severity of asthma can affect the everyday life of an individual.

About one fifth of the people diagnosed with asthma have to face the greatest difficulties of asthma (All About). After years of conflict, a person begins to center their life on the need to take regular steroid treatment to keep their



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