Asthmatic Bronchitis: Childhood Asthma
Simply, asthma in children is called as childhood asthma. When translated in a medical language, it is called Asthmatic Bronchitis. Again, it simply means a kind of bronchitis, which is asthmatic in nature.
It will be important to know what does asthma mean, in the first place. Asthma means panting (breathlessness), in Greek. In reality, asthma is more then panting. For example, if you exert yourself with intense exercise, you feel panting, but that is not asthma. Asthma means breathlessness due to the constriction of the respiratory tubes. The constriction of the large and small tubes of the lung may be because of the spasm caused by certain factors, discussed separately on this page.
Lungs Function & Structure
Let us briefly understand the structure and the function of the lungs. The lungs are two cone shaped vital organs on either side of the chest, as shown in the figure. Air, which we breathe through the nose, enters into the lungs through the air-tube (called Trachea) which bifurcates into two tubes, each going to the respective lungs. Each of the bronchus (plural bronchi) branches into multiple, innumerous small tubes called bronchioles. The bronchioles lead to terminal sacs called alveoli. The air eventually passes through the bronchioles to the alveoli to exchange carbon dioxide (CO2) with Oxygen in return.
In the normal circumstances, there is a clear passage in the bronchi and the bronchioles facilitating effortless breathing process. In case of the asthmatic episode, due to certain factors the bronchi and the bronchioles go into ‘spasm’ leading to obstructed air passage (as shown in the figure II), not allowing the oxygen to go across. This is a typical phenomenon of the acute asthmatic episode.
So, asthmatic bronchitis is nothing but a disorder of the respiratory system whereby the lung tubes meet with episodic or chronic episodes of spasms, where the precipitating cause might differ from patient to patient and the frequency of attacks, the duration of attack as well as the intensity of the attack could vary from child to child.
The factors, which decide the intensity of the attack, are not only the external factors such as the strength of the allergens or irritants but it is the individual sensitivity (susceptibility) which decides the intensity of the breathlessness. Similarly, the same rules apply to frequency, the length of the attack. When said so, it is not difficult to derive that the Child Asthma is a disorder where one has to ascertain the ‘internal’ factors (such as the susceptibility of the patients) rather then just the external factors such as the food allergens. This understanding is quite vital with reference to the homeopathic approach to the treatment of asthma.
As a result of the entire process, which involves spasm and an inflammation of the lung tubules, the child may present with cough, difficult breathing (called dyspnea), panting and weakness.