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.
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