HealthShlok

Asthma

Asthma is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

1. What is Asthma
Asthma AZ ma is a chronic long term lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing a whistling sound when you breathe, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning.Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. In the United States, more than 25 million people are known to have asthma. About 7 million of these people are children.

2. who gets asthma
Asthma is a chronic inflammation and obstruction of the bronchial tubes, the airways that allow air to enter and leave the lungs. People often think of asthma in terms of episodes or attacks. Actually, someone with asthma always has it, but the symptoms may not appear until triggered by something that provokes a response in the body, such as exercise, cold air, stress, illness, irritants in the air, certain medications or an allergen.

Allergens are substances that cause no problem in most people but produce an abnormal reaction in some. When someone who is sensitive to an allergen is exposed to it, his or her immune system sees it as a foreign substance and releases chemicals to deal with it. For people with asthma, those chemicals can cause an asthma attack meaning that their airways become constricted, they find it difficult to breathe and they may experience coughing or wheezing.


3. Symptoms
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways in the lungs. In the United States asthma affects an estimated 26 million people many of whom arent aware that they have it, especially if their symptoms arent severe.
The most common symptoms are:
Coughing, especially at night, during exercise or when laughing
Shortness of breath
Chest tightness
Wheezing a whistling or squeaky sound in your chest when you breathe, especially when exhaling
Any asthma symptom is serious and can become deadly if left untreated.
Symptoms may be triggered by exposure to an allergen such as ragweed, pollen, pet hair or dust mites, irritants in the air such as smoke, chemical fumes or strong odors or extreme weather conditions. Illness particularly a respiratory illness or the flu and exercise can also make you more susceptible.
A physical display of strong emotion that affects normal breathing patterns such as shouting, crying or laughing may also contribute to an asthma attack. Panic can prevent a person with asthma from relaxing and following instructions, which is essential during an attack. Scientists have found that rapid breathing associated with strong emotions can cause bronchial tubes to constrict, possibly provoking or worsening an attack.
Like any chronic condition, asthma can cause emotional strain. As a leading cause of work and school absences, it can have a significant effect on livelihood, education and emotional well being. Depression may set in when people diagnosed with asthma believe that they are unable to participate in normal activities.
Asthma symptoms can happen at any time. Mild episodes may last only a few minutes and may be resolved spontaneously or with medication; more severe episodes can last from hours to days.
If youre experiencing breathing difficulties that interfere with your daily activities and decrease the quality of your life, see an allergist for diagnosis and treatment. An allergist can also help you recognize the early warning signals of an attack and coach you in ways to cope during an emergency.

4. what are the symptoms of asthma
Coughing. Coughing from asthma often is worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep.
Wheezing. Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound that occurs when you breathe. Chest tightness. This may feel like something is squeezing or sitting on your chest. Shortness of breath. Some people who have asthma say they cant catch their breath or they feel out of breath. You may feel like you cant get air out of your lungs. Not all people who have asthma have these symptoms. Likewise, having these symptoms doesnt always mean that you have asthma. The best way to diagnose asthma for certain is to use a lung function test, a medical history including type and frequency of symptoms, and a physical exam.
The types of asthma symptoms you have, how often they occur, and how severe they are may vary over time. Sometimes your symptoms may just annoy you. Other times, they may be troublesome enough to limit your daily routine.
Severe symptoms can be fatal. Its important to treat symptoms when you first notice them so they dont become severe.
With proper treatment, most people who have asthma can expect to have few, if any, symptoms either during the day or at night.

5. precautions
  • Encase pillows, mattresses, and box springs with allergen proof, zippered covers.
  • Wash all bedding in hot water once a week.
  • Dont allow smoking in your house.
  • Wear a mask and gloves when cleaning, vacuuming, or painting to limit dust and chemical exposure.
  • Vacuum twice a week.
  • Limit throw rugs to reduce dust and mold. If you do have rugs, make sure they are washable.
  • When possible, choose hardwood floors instead of carpeting. If you must have carpeting, choose low pile material.
  • Avoid dust collecting Venetian blinds or long drapes. Replace old drapes with window shades instead. Washable curtains should be washed in hot water every two to four weeks.
  • Non carpeted flooring is best. If you cannot get rid of your carpeting, vacuum often with a multi layer, allergen proof vacuum bag. Wear a mask while vacuuming. If your child has asthma, do not vacuum while he or she is in the room. Products that eliminate dust mites from carpeting such as Acarosan can be purchased. Your asthma care provider can give you information about these products.
  • Dust all surfaces with a damp cloth often, including lampshades and windowsills. Keep clutter under control. Toys and books should be stored in enclosed bookshelves, drawers, or closets.
  • Replace traditional stuffed animals with washable stuffed animals.
  • Keep all clothing in drawers and closets. Keep drawers and closets closed.
  • Cover air ducts with filters or cheesecloth. Change these when soiled.
  • Pillows and bedding should not contain feathers.
  • Keep indoor humidity low 25% 50%. Use a dehumidifier.
  • Regularly change filters on heaters and air conditioners.

  • 6. Homeopathy
    Homeopathy is a system of medicine which tries to cure this disease, instead of trying to provide symptomatic relief. While dealing with a case of asthma, a homeopath not only records the symptoms of the disease but also studies the medical history, family history, physical and psychological characteristics of a person. This helps to find the cause, the precipitating factors, and the hereditary tendency etc. Of special interest to a homeopath is the history of suppression of skin disease. Homeopaths believe that when there is a tendency or predisposition for a disease it first manifests on the less vital organs, towards the periphery like skin. If this manifestation is suppressed than the disease shifts inwards, towards the more vital organs like lungs, heart, brain etc.
    The fact that in children asthma is often preceded by eczema is observed by the allopaths also. This fact is written in all their textbooks of medicine. They say that children often move out of eczema and move into asthma. But they are unable to make a correlation. Homeopaths believe that the suppression of eczema with topical preparations, does not cure the disease sensitivity of the person, it merely drives it inwards.
    Now after ascertaining the symptoms and the cause, the homeopath tries to find a medicine which matches the symptoms as well as the general characteristics of the person. The medicine so selected is administered to the patient.
    It is often not necessarily observed by homeopaths that when a right medicine is given, the asthma disappears but the old eczema or skin rash if it was there originally reappears for some time, before finally disappearing itself. This reappearance of old symptoms is seen as a reversal of disease process and is considered a very good prognostic sign by homeopaths.
    MEDICINES There are lots of medicines in homeopathy for asthma symptoms and it is not possible to list them all here. Some of the common medicines are ars alb, ipecac, lachesis, pulsatilla, spongia, sulphur, ignatia, antim tart, hepar sulph, nat sulph, tuberculinum etc. The selection of medicine varies from patient to patient.

    7. Ayurved
    Ayurveda is the most ancient and traditional system of medicine in India. The Ayurvedic system of medication is based on many centuries of experience in medical practice, handed down through generations. Ayurvedic medicine originated in the early civilizations of India some 3,000 5,000 years ago making Ayurvedic medicine the oldest surviving healing system in the world.The word Ayurveda is formed by the combination of two words Ayu meaning life, and Veda meaning knowledge. Ayurveda is regarded as The Science of Life and the practice involves the care of physical, mental and spiritual health of human beings.Life according to Ayurveda is a combination of senses, mind, body and soul. Ayurveda is not only limited to body or physical symptoms but also gives a comprehensive knowledge about spiritual, mental and social health. Thus Ayurveda is a qualitative, holistic science of health and longevity, a philosophy and system of healing the whole person, body and mind.

    According to Ayurveda, all matter is thought to he composed of five basic elements known as the Panchamahabhuthas Earth Prithvi, Water Jala, Fire Tejas, Wind Vayu and Space Akasha.These elements interact and exists in combination, in which one or more elements dominate. The human body is composed of derivatives of these five basic elements, in the form of doshas, tissues dhatus and waste products malas. The Panchmahabhutas therefore serve as the foundation of all diagnosis and treatment modalities in Ayurveda.Ayurveda advocates that the primary and essential factors of the human body that govern our entire physical structure and function, is a combination of any two of the five bhutas with the predominance of one. This is the most fundamental and characteristic principle of Ayurveda and is called Tridosha or the Three Humours. They are categorized into Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Vata governs movement, Pitta is concerned with functions of heat, metabolism, and energy production and Kapha, governs physical structure and fluid balance. Thus in Ayurveda, disease is viewed as a state of imbalance in one or more of these doshas, and the treatments aims to establish the balance in these three fundamental qualities.


    8. The non drug treatment of asthma
    Anti asthma medication alone cannot be considered a complete treatment for asthma. Drugs have not made an impact on asthma mortality, yet may cause significant side effects. Minimising exposure to environmental allergens decreases the severity of asthma attacks and therefore decreases the amount of medication required and the likelihood of side effects. The identification, avoidance and elimination of allergens should therefore play a central role in the management of any child with asthma. Studies in Asia and Europe have shown a positive correlation between affluence, indoor pollution, and the prevalence of asthma. There is evidence to suggest a relationship between exposure to allergens before the age of 1 year and later allergen sensitivity, through the promotion of TH2 cell dominance. Of particular importance are maternal smoking, house dust mites and cockroach allergens. The methods for reducing house dust mite exposure are many and varied and include acaricides, encasement of bedding material, vacuuming, exposure to sunlight, dehumidification, hot washing and air filtration.

    9. Acupuncture
    Asthma care can be frustrating. Inhaled medications can be tricky to use properly. Daily medications can feel like a burden and may cause some unpleasant side effects. Many people worry about the potential for harmful effects with long term use of medications. Even faithful adherence to treatment programs does not guarantee freedom from asthmatic symptoms or from frightening asthmatic attacks.

    10. Biofeedback
    In a new study, researchers show that biofeedback can improve lung function and decrease the need for asthma medication among participants who learned the technique. Biofeedback is a system that uses electronic monitoring devices that feed information back to an individual to teach him or her to control body functions that normally happen automatically. An example of biofeedback would be the use of a heart rate monitor to control the hearts rapidly beating pulse when someone does a form of exercise.
    Studies have shown that biofeedback may influence heart rate variability, which in turn may improve lung function and airway flow resistance seen in patients with asthma. Researchers studied 94 adults with asthma. After stabilizing all the participants with an asthma controlling medicine, researchers split them into four groups.
    The first group used heart rate variability HRV biofeedback and breathing exercises. The second group just used HRV biofeedback. The third followed a placebo program with bogus content subliminal suggestions designed to help asthma plus biofeedback, and the fourth group received no treatment. Participants in the first three groups attended 10 weekly biofeedback sessions and were asked to practice at home for 20 minutes twice daily. HRV biofeedback groups were sent home with a monitor that analyzed heart rate.

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    Asthma

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