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Asthma Basics

by: Amy Otis, RN

What is Asthma?

One in ten children and one in three adults suffer from chronic asthma. That is about 15 million Americans alone. An acute asthma attack is caused by inflammation in the airways of the lungs, causing contraction and narrowing of the airways (bronchioles), restricting airflow and making breathing very difficult.

Chronic asthma is a lung condition characterized by frequent asthma attacks and requiring medical management to prevent and minimize acute attacks.

Symptoms of Asthma May Include:

 Characteristic wheezing sound, especially when exhaling
 Shortness of breath
 Tightness in the chest
 Persistent cough, especially at night
 May include an increased pulse, anxiety or fear

What Causes Asthma?

Nobody really knows what causes asthma, but the tendency to develop it frequently seems to be inherited. During an attack, the airways become swollen, excess mucus plugs these narrow passages, and the muscles lining the airway tighten up. Children and adults may experience coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, increased heart rate, perspiration, and shortness of breath.

Asthma is strongly associated with pollution. The incidence of asthma has risen sharply in the last thirty years along with a rise in industrialization and higher levels of environmental pollution.

Other possible causes of asthma in vulnerable individuals include allergic reactions to dietary substances like wheat, dairy products, chocolate, nuts, preservatives and other chemical food and beverage additives. Asthma attacks may also be brought on by pollen, house dust mites, tobacco smoke, feathers and other allergens. Even a temperature change, or the cold morning air can cause broncho spasm and increase the likelihood of an attack. In some individuals, anxiety can precipitate an asthma attack and stress and are therefore a contributory factor.

There is a strong hereditary link and asthma can often be seen to run in families. Children who live in houses with smokers are also at higher risk for developing asthma at any time in their lives. Homeopathic medicine recognize that immune system functioning can play a vital role in helping to control the symptoms of asthma and strengthen the body's defenses against environmental allergens.

How is Asthma Usually Treated?

Conventional Western medicine deals with asthma treatment with a combination of inhalers, anti-inflammatory medication, bronchodilators and even steroids. Other treatments take the form of homeopathic or naturopathic treatment. While many asthma attacks are relatively mild and can be treated and controlled at home, some are more severe and may even require hospitalization.

While conventional medical treatment may sometimes be necessary, there are some definite limitations, including side effects, as well as negative effects on immune system functioning - thereby leading to more asthma attacks and reduced resistance to allergens. You should not stop your asthma medication without first consulting your doctor or health care provider.

Can Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies Help?

They can help some people who suffer from asthma. Herbal and homeopathic asthma treatments can often be effective. Depending upon the severity of the asthma. They can reduce or eliminate the need for the synthetic drugs and inhalers and can also be safely used with conventional treatment of asthma. Talk to your health care provider first before consulting with a trained homeopathic provider.

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(Added: Tue May 03 2005 Hits: 3499 Downloads: 5 Rating: 10.00 Votes: 1)   Rate It   Review It


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