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Home > Health & Disease in Naturopathy > Chest Ailments > Asthma
AsthmaAsthma is supposed to be a psychosomatic disorder. Nowadays the number of Asthma patients is increasing rapidly. Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs and the airways that deliver air to the lungs. It causes periodic attacks of wheezing and difficult breathing. An asthma attack occurs when the airways become inflamed in response to a trigger, such as dust, mold, pets, exercise or cold weather. Triggers may inflame the airways to the lungs, allowing disease-fighting cells to accumulate and causing swelling in the lungs. In addition, the airways may become blocked or obstructed when the muscles surrounding the lungs tighten or go into spasm. This keeps air from circulating freely in the lungs. Apart from this even the mucus may clog and narrow the airways in the lungs, making breathing even more difficult.

During an asthma attack, the walls of the airways become inflamed, and the mucous membrane covering the walls becomes swollen with fluid. Sticky mucus fills the remaining space, making it difficult to breathe. Because air cannot flow in and out of the lungs freely, a whistling or wheezing sound may be heard. Asthma attacks can be mild, moderate, or severe, and can last for a few minutes, a few hours, or several days. Asthma attacks can occur anywhere and at anytime, however, most of them occur at night. Sometimes, there are warning signs that an attack is about to happen, but sometimes there are not, and by noticing them one will be able to avoid serious episodes of asthma. Thus, we can say that Asthma is a lung disease with the following characteristics:
  • Airway Obstruction (or airway narrowing) that is reversible (only in some patients) either spontaneously or with treatment.

  • Airway inflammation.

  • Airway Hyper-responsiveness to a variety of stimuli.

  • Symptoms:
    The symptoms of asthma can vary among people. They can very confusing, but the most common symptoms are: A wheezing sound when you breathe. Sometimes this happens only when you have a cold. Usually there is scratchy throat, or tightness in the chest, followed by a cough, wheezing, or shortness of breath. Thus, it`s main symptoms are following:
    • Breathlessness at the time of attack
    • Heaviness in chest
    • Distended abdomen
    • Uneasiness in body and increase in palpitation
    • Cold
    • Cough
    • Weakness
    • Breathing trouble during sleep and feeling of some comfort during sitting.

    Causes of Asthma:
    According to Yoga and Naturopathy the main cause of Asthma are the digestive disorders. Food if not digested properly, produces toxic juices in the system and causes obstructions in the respiratory tract resulting in the state of breathlessness. This is termed as Asthma. Sometimes due to persistent Common Cold and cough, the symptoms of Asthma appear. If the parents have been the patients of Asthma their children may also develop this disease. Sometimes the effect of climate or some other disorders can also become the cause of Asthma.

    Triggers Of Asthma

    Although the specific things that trigger an asthma attack can vary from person to person, some common triggers are well known. These include the following:
    Allergens: Common allergens include pollen, mold, animal hair or fur, household dust/dust mites, cockroaches, and certain foods.

    Infections: Both bacterial and viral infections can irritate the airways, triggering asthma attacks.

    Sinusitis: During a sinus infection, mucus draining into the nose, throat, and lungs can cause asthma symptoms.

    Irritants: Examples of irritants to the airways include strong odors and sprays (perfumes, household cleaners, paints, and varnishes), certain chemicals like coal, chalk dust, and talcum powder, air pollutants, tobacco smoke, changing weather conditions (for example, cold weather).

    Smoke: Inhaling smoke from cigarettes or fires harms the airways and is especially hard on the airways of people with asthma. In fact, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than half of the cases of asthma in people over 40 years of age.

    Exercise: Although exercise is good for people with asthma, it can trigger an asthma attack. People with asthma need to work with their doctors to prevent asthma attacks due to exercise. However, there are certain drugs can help prevent asthma symptoms from occurring after exercise.

    Exposure to irritants on the job: Many cases of asthma are worsened or even caused by exposure to vapors, dust, gases, or fumes in the workplace. This type of asthma usually improves when the person takes a few days off from work, such as on weekends and vacations.

    Sensitivity to medications and sulfites: About 5 to 20 of adults with asthma have attacks triggered by sensitivities or allergies to sulfites and to medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, indomethacin and naproxen. People with asthma should consult their physicians before taking any new medication, including those available without a prescription. Sulfites are often used to preserve foods and beverages, including tuna, foods available at salad bars, dried apples and raisins, lemon juice, grape juice, and wine.

    Emotional Anxiety: Strong emotions and nervous stress can trigger asthma in some people. This may be due, in part, to the ability of emotions and stress to weaken the body`s defenses.

    Treatment of Asthma :
    First of all the patient of Asthma should find out the measures to cleanse the bowel and respiratory tract. Fasting is the excellent remedy for this. The patient should keep on fast for one to two days and gradually come to liquid and fruit, diet. Thereafter normal diet consisting of whole wheat bread and Bottle gourd vegetable may be taken. Regular warm water enema may be taken daily during fast.

    Nature Cure treatments like Hipbath, Hot foot bath and Chest pack give considerable relief to Asthma patients. In the state of attack Hot foot bath gives immediate relief. Cleansing of bowel is necessary for Asthma patients. Cold and heavy meal should be avoided and the dinner should be very light. Efforts should be made to have dinner before sunset. Warm water should be used for drinking purposes especially with the meals. The patients of Asthma should shun intoxicants like Tobacco. Bidi. Cigarette, Pan Masala and Zarda. Honey may be used. The patients of Asthma should take morning walk regularly. Deep breathing is also advisable during walk.

    In perturbed condition, if there is more cough then the patient must perform Kunjala (vomiting) immediately with lukewarm saline water. This act provides instantaneous relief by way of purging out excessive cough.

    Kunjala, Jala Neti, Sutra Neti and Vastra Dhauti may be practised everyday. After that first five exercises ofSurya Namaskara, all exercises ofUdara Shakti Vikasaka (Excepting Kunjala) may follow. Urdhvagati and Engine Race are also beneficial in Asthma. Tadasana. Katichakrasana, Ashwathasana, Tanasana, Sarvangasana, Chakrasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Vajrasana, Ushtrasana, Gornukhasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana. Malsyasana and Shavasana are useful in this disease. Kapalabhati, Bhastrika, Suryabhedi Pranayama, Uddiyana Bandha and Agnisara is also beneficial in this disease.

    Asthma should be Investigated with the help of some expert and treatment should be taken accordingly, if no benefit accrue from the above procedures.

    Asthma in Children

    For children, asthma symptoms can interfere with many school and extracurricular activities. Parents may notice their child has less stamina during play than his or her peers, or they may notice the child trying to limit or avoid physical activities to prevent coughing or wheezing, which occurs when the air must move through the narrowed airways typical of asthma. Normal breathing is quiet; a child with asthma has noisy breathing. Up to 80 of children with asthma develop symptoms before age five. Thus, a child`s physician must rely heavily on parents` observations to determine the signs of asthma and make a proper diagnosis.

  • More subtle signs of asthma, such as chest tightness, are often not identified as such by children; thus, recurrent or constant coughing may be the only observable symptom in young Children.

  • Some children wheeze from respiratory infections, which should be treated as soon as possible to avoid future complications and long-term effects.

  • Asthma may also be triggered by a family history of allergy and the child`s exposure to allergens.

  • It is essential that children be protected from irritants such as tobacco smoke, since this causes chronic irritation of the airways.

  • Diagnosis:
    Proper diagnosis and management of childhood asthma requires a physician who recognizes the unique characteristics of childhood asthma. To make a diagnosis, a physician will consider:

  • The child`s family history of asthma and allergies as well as personal medical history, which is often given by the parent rather than the child.

  • Allergens and irritants to which the child is exposed.

  • Frequency and severity of symptoms.

  • Other factors such as respiratory infections, which may be considered as explanations for wheezing.

  • Objective measurements of breathing, usually through use of a machine called a spirometer.

  • Precautions:

    Controlling the home environment is a very important part of asthma and allergy care. Some general precautions for home control for all members of the family are:
  • Reduce or remove as many asthma and allergy triggers from your home as possible.

  • If possible, use air filters and air conditioners to make your home cleaner and more comfortable.

  • Pay attention to the problem of dust mites in the bedroom.

  • Vacuum cleaners stir up dust and allergens in the air. Anyone with asthma or allergies should avoid, vacuuming. However, if at all vacuuming is required then a dust mask should be worn.

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