In the US childhood incidence had increases fro 3% to 9% since 1980. Among different ethnic groups in the US, Puerto Ricans have the highest incidence of asthma. African Americans also have a high incidence of this disease. Irish Americans and Hawaiians also have a high incidence of asthma. The lowest incidence is found in the Mexican population. Although the incidence of pediatric asthma is higher in males than in females, the occurrence of this disease is much higher in adult females, who are twice as likely to die of this disease as males. Moreover, the incidence of asthma is higher in lower socioeconomic groups who reside in urban centers.
There are two primary forms of this disease: acute and chronic. The acute form of the disease is characterized by the occurrence of in worsening symptoms and unstable bronchial function. The chronic form of the disease is a stable, non-progressing condition (Adam 10). Many patients with asthma vary over time between the two disease states. Asthma can be distinguished from several other major forms of lung disease by means of differential diagnosis. Unlike emphysema which affects the structure and function of the alveoli, the primary site of gaseous exchange in the lung, asthma affects the airways or conductance passage that transport air between the lung tissue and the external opening of the body. Likewise, COPD is an irreversible deterioration of the primary lung tissue; in contrast at the inflammatory manifestations of asthma are reversible (Adam 20-23).
Asthma is a chronic pulmonary disorder characterized by inflammation of the major airways of the lungs and has a complex etiology. The recurring inflammatory episodes result in hyper-responsiveness of airway vessels that causes tissue swelling with many physiological consequences (Adam 44). These episodes cause symptoms of wheezing, tightness of the chest, coughing and restricted airflow that result in