Holistic Health and Natural Healing Articles ~
What is asthma? Can natural remedies help?|
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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. One in 10 children and one in three adults suffer from chronic asthma.
Treatment may take the form of conventional Western medicine, homeopathic or naturopathic approach. Nutrition and lifestyle changes are also often part of treatment, such as getting good air purifiers, removing allergens from the home and making sure secondhand smoke is not present in the home. While many asthma attacks are relatively mild and can be treated and controlled at home, some are more severe and may even require hospitalization.
Symptoms of asthma
~ Tightness in the chest
~ Characteristic 'wheezing' sound, especially when exhaling
~ Shortness of breath
~ Persistent cough, especially at night
~ May have increased pulse, anxiety or fear
What causes asthma? Asthma is strongly associated with pollution. The incidence of asthma has risen sharply in the last 30 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'.
Naturopaths and homeopaths 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 via a combination of inhalers, anti-inflammatory medication, bronchodilators and even steroids.
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. While conventional medicine can sometimes control asthma, this is often a temporary measure only.
Note: You should not stop your asthma medication without first consulting your doctor, a trained naturopath or homeopath for guidance.
How can herbal and homeopathic remedies help? Herbal and homeopathic asthma treatment can be extremely effective. Depending on the severity of the asthma, they can reduce or eliminate the need for the synthetic drugs and inhalers and can also be safely used to complement conventional treatment of asthma. Used as part of a wider, holistic lifestyle management, herbal and homeopathic medicines can bring significant relief to sufferers of asthma - without the side effects or other complications of the conventional drugs.
Asthma Irritants - Lifestyle and environmental factors all play a role in asthma attacks. These factors include:
~ Air pollutants - tobacco smoke, wood smoke, diesel exhaust, chemicals in air and ozone
~ Occupation exposure to allergens, vapors, dust, gases or fumes
~ Strong odors or spray (perfumes, household cleaners, cooking fumes, paints or varnishes)
~ Airborne particles such as coal dust, chalk dust or talcum powder
~ Viral infections (colds or viral pneumonia)
~ Strenuous physical exercise
~ Anxiety and stress (these cause fatigue and hyperventilation, which can bring on an asthma attack)