Complicationsresulting from asthma attacks can be sudden. There have been reportedcases of people who have lost their lives after experiencing theseattacks despite being in a good shape few minutes before the attack.Basically, the disease is characterized by airway inflammationresulting in the obstruction of airflow. Pathophysiologicalmechanisms of chronic asthma and acute asthma exacerbations areideally the leading causes of complications for asthma patients.Through identifying their mechanisms, this paper presents theirsimilarities and differences as well as patient factors that affectthe pathophysiology of the disorders. It also explains diagnosis andtreatment of the disorders basing on ethnicity as the patient factorin the discussion.

Pathophysiologicalmechanisms of chronic asthma and acute asthma exacerbations

Pathophysiologyof chronic asthma is complicated and involves the inflammation of theairway, obstruction of intermittent airflow, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (Sarah, 2012). Inflammation of the airway involves aninteraction of various cell types and multiple mediators which at theend result in pathophysiological conditions of the disease such asbronchial inflammation and limited airflow. This on the other handresults in recurrent coughs, breath shortness, and wheezing.

Anexacerbation on the other hand is a worsened condition of anasthmatic patient. Pathophysiological mechanisms of acute asthmaexacerbations are still as a result of inflamed airways. The airwaysswell, become very sensitive, and react strongly to any inhaledsubstance. Acute asthma exacerbations result in changes in thearterial blood gas patterns and sometimes end up fatal althoughadvances in the medications have helped a great deal in managing thesituations. During an exacerbation, the lungs are not in a positionto deliver the right amounts of oxygen to the blood. Still, thecarbon dioxide in the blood is not eliminated effectively(Padvamathi, 2013).

Effectof ethnicity in pathophysiology of chronic and acute asthmaexacerbations

Research has shown that ethnicity has effects on the pathophysiologyof both chronic asthma and acute asthma exacerbations. Ethnicminority groups, for instance the blacks, are adversely affected bychronic asthma and acute asthma exacerbations. In the USA, 13% ofblack children are affected by asthma as compared to 9% of the whitecounterparts (Gold &amp Wright, 2011). Pathophysiology of chronicand acute asthma exacerbations is thus affected negatively under thegrounds of ethnicity. This is attributed to factors such asinappropriate medications and lack of finances to manage thecondition.

Diagnosisand treatment of asthma among the minority groups

Overtwenty million Americans suffer from asthma and its complications.Diagnosis of asthma should have medical as well as family histories.People belonging in lower ethnic groups face more asthmatic attacksthan their counterparts. Most of the people suffering from asthmafrom the minority ethnic groups have little or no access to medicalcare to manage their condition. Diagnosing such people involvesasking questions about their family background and history. Diagnosisshould also be based on the severity of the symptoms they portray. Aphysical examination can be the first step in the diagnosis ofchronic asthma through listening to breathing patterns (Smith, 2011).This will determine whether there is a need for lung function andallergy tests. On the other hand, severe symptoms resulting fromacute asthma exacerbations call for chest x-rays or measurement ofthe sensitivity of airwaves.

Itis unfortunate that asthma cannot be treated but can only be managed.The minority ethnic groups can have their condition managed byensuring that they take medicines correctly, are placed on regularcheckups, and treatment of other conditions that maybe alongsideasthma because of lack of proper medical care.


Chronicand acute asthma exacerbations portray similar pathophysiologicalmechanisms which is basically inflammation of airways leading toobstruction of airwaves. The major difference lies in the nature ofsymptoms. Symptoms of chronic asthma develop and worsen overtime andare easily manageable while those of acute asthma exacerbations arerapid and worsen in an instant and are mostly fatal. Various patientfactors such as age, ethnicity, and gender affect asthmaticconditions. Depending on the nature of the patient factor, asthma canbe diagnosed and the right management plan administered since asthmais incurable.


Gold,D. &amp Wright, R. (2011). Population disparities in asthma. Annualrevised public health. 26,3, 87-108.

Padmavathi,K. (2013). Arterial blood gas analysis in acute and chronic bronchialasthma. Bulletinof pharmaceutical and medical sciences. 1,3.

Sarah,A. (2012). exacerbations: Assessment and management of severeasthma in adults in hospitals. Nationalinstitute of health. 62,8, 430-447.

Smith,T.L. (2011). .Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.