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Asthma

WHAT IS ASTHMA?

Asthma is best described by its technical name: Reversible Obstructive Airway Disease (ROAD). In other words, asthma is a condition in which the airways of the lungs become either narrowed or completely blocked, impeding normal breathing. However, in asthma, this obstruction of the lungs is reversible, either spontaneously or with medication.

Quickly reviewing the structure of the lung: air reaches the lung by passing through the windpipe (trachea), which divides into two large tubes (bronchi), one for each lung. Each bronchi further divides into many little tubes (bronchioles), which eventually lead to tiny air sacs (alveoli), in which oxygen from the air is transferred to the bloodstream, and carbon dioxide from the bloodstream is transferred to the air. Asthma involves only the airways (bronchi and bronchioles), and not the air sacs. The airways are cleaned by trapping stray particles in a thin layer of mucus which covers the surface of the airways. This mucus is produced by glands inside the lung, and is constantly being renewed. The mucus is then either coughed up or swept up to the windpipe (trachea) by cilia, tiny hairs on the lining of the airways. Once the mucus reaches the throat, it can again be coughed up or, alternatively, swallowed.

Although everyone's airways have the potential for constricting in response to allergens or irritants, the asthmatic's airways are oversensitive, or hyperactive. In response to stimuli, the airways may become obstructed by one of the following:

  • Constriction of the muscles surrounding the airway;
  • Inflammation and swelling of the airway; or
  • Increased mucus production which clogs the airway.

Once the airways have become obstructed, it takes more effort to force air through them, so that breathing becomes labored. This forcing of air through constricted airways can make a whistling or rattling sound, called wheezing. Irritation of the airways by excessive mucus may also provoke coughing.
Because exhaling through the obstructed airways is difficult, too much stale air remains in the lungs after each breath. This decreases the amount of fresh air which can be taken in with each new breath, so not only is there less oxygen available for the whole body, but more importantly, the high concentration of carbon dioxide in the lungs causes the blood supply to become acidic. This acidity in the blood may rise to toxic levels if the asthma remains untreated.

SYMPTOMS OF ASTHMA

People with asthma have symptoms when the airways are narrowed (bronchospasm), swollen (inflamed), or filled with mucus. Common symptoms of asthma include:

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness, pain, or pressure

Not every person with asthma has the same symptoms in the same way. You might not have all of these symptoms, or you might have different symptoms at different times. The symptoms might also vary from one asthma episode to the next, being mild during one asthma episode and severe during another.
Some people with asthma might have extended symptom-free periods, interrupted by periodic asthma episodes, while others have some symptoms every day. In addition, some people with asthma might only have symptoms during exercise, or when they are exposed to allergens or viral respiratory tract infections.
Mild asthma episodes are generally more common. Usually, the airways open up within a few minutes to a few hours. Severe episodes are less common, but last longer and require immediate medical help. It is important to recognize and treat even mild symptoms to help you prevent severe episodes and keep asthma in better control.
Early warning signs
Early warning signs are changes that happen just before or at the very beginning of an asthma episode. These changes start before the well-known symptoms of asthma and are the earliest signs that a person’s asthma is worsening.
In general, these signs are not severe enough to stop a person from going about his or her daily activities. By recognizing these signs, you can stop an asthma episode or prevent one from getting worse. Early warning signs include:

  • Frequent cough, especially at night
  • Losing your breath easily or shortness of breath
  • Feeling very tired or weak when exercising
  • Wheezing or coughing after exercise
  • Feeling tired, easily upset, grouchy, or moody
  • Decreases or changes in a peak expiratory flow
  • Signs of a cold, upper respiratory infection, or allergies (sneezing, runny nose, cough, congestion, sore throat, and headache)
  • Trouble sleeping

If you have early warning signs or symptoms, you should take more asthma medicine for flare-up or poor control as described in your Asthma Action Plan.
Symptoms of worsening asthma
If early warning signs and symptoms are not recognized and treated, the asthma episode can progress and symptoms might worsen. As symptoms worsen, you might have more difficulty performing daily activities and sleeping. Symptoms of worsening asthma include:

  • A cough that won’t go away (day and night)
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Poor response to medicines (bronchodilators)

Late, severe symptoms
When asthma symptoms become severe, you will be unable to perform regular activities. If you have late, severe symptoms, follow the "Red Zone" or emergency instructions in the Asthma Action Plan immediately. These symptoms occur in life-threatening asthma episodes. You need medical help right away. Late, severe symptoms include:

  • Severe wheezing (both when breathing in and out)
  • Coughing that won’t stop
  • Very rapid breathing
  • Inability to catch your breath
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Tightened neck and chest muscles (retractions)
  • Difficulty talking
  • Inability to fully exhale
  • Feelings of anxiety or panic
  • Pale, sweaty face
  • Blue lips or fingernails

CAUSES OF ASTHMA

Asthma has no single cause. It is caused my multiple factors, which can be divided in two groups:
1. External
2. Internal

Asthma is caused and maintained by more than one of the following causes:

  1. Genetic or hereditary cause
  2. Environmental factors (pollution, pollen, etc.) - Systemic diseases
  3. Mental stress
  4. Allergens
  5. Intense emotions like anger, fear, etc.
  6. Physical exercise (known as Exercise-induced Asthma, this is triggered by rigorous physical exercise)
  7. Certain drugs like aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Beta-blockers, etc.
  8. Viral infections
  9. Certain foods
  10. Hormonal changes such as those occurring in pregnancy, menopause, thyroid disorders, etc.
  11. Obesity
  12. House dust mites
  13. Pet dander
  14. Chemical irritants in the workplace
  15. Strong perfumes

Asthma has a tendency to recur and get chronic. It is often observed to be a lifelong disease like diabetes or high blood pressure.

One or more of the above factors lead to altered immunity which eventually leads to chronic asthma. It may be noted that the genetic tendency for asthma forms soil, leading to susceptibility to be affected by other external or internal trigger factors.

Allergens:

  • Pollens
  • Air pollutants
  • Smoking and second hand smoking
  • Respiratory infections
  • Common cold, Sinusitis
  • Exercise, physical exertion
  • Cold air
  • Medications: Aspirin, NSAID, Beta blockers etc.
  • GERD (Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease)

The list can be exhaustive though each person may have a different individual or a combination of triggering factors.

Risk Factors:
The following factors increase your chances of developing Asthma.

  • Urban / Industrial areas where the exposure to environmental pollutants is more.
  • Work Environment - Exposure to chemicals, dust, industrial waste.
  • Heredity - Have a history of either parents or family members suffering from Asthma.
  • Childhood - History of recurrent respiratory tract infections, low birth weight.
  • GERD

NATUROPATHY TREATMENT OF ASTHMA

The patient of asthma should take hot fomentation on the chest, back and abdomen with the help of hot water bag. He should also take enema of lukewarm water, massage on chest and back with oil made by boiling garlic cloves in mustered oil. Daily hot foot bath for 15 minutes. Steam Bath, Sauna Bath, Friction Bath, Sun Bath also useful in this disease.

  • The patient should be given enema to clean the colon and prevent auto-intoxication.
  • Mud pack applied to the abdomen will relieve the fermentation caused by undigested food and will promote intestinal peristalsis.
  • Wet pack on the chest relieves congestion of the lungs and strengthens the alveoli.
  • Hip bath, Hot Foot bath and Chest pack, all stimulate the skin and relieve the congested lungs.
  • Hot foot bath is quiet beneficial in case of acute asthma.
  • Fasting with lemon juice and honey, thereby switch to fruit juice nourish the system and eliminate toxin.

YOGA FOR ASTHMA

Kriya:
Jal-Neti, Kunjal.
Asana:
Ekpaad Uttanasana, Tadasana, Yoga Mudra, Ushtrasana, Simhasana, Sarvangasana, Matsayasana, Shavasana, Pawanmuktasana.
Pranayama:
Anulom Vilom Pranayam, Bhastrika, Surbhedi, Ujjayi Pranayama and Bhramri Pranayama is good for this disease.
Relaxation:
Yoga Nidra.
Asthma Mudra:

  • Fold the middle finger of both your hands so that their fingernails are positioned as touching each other.
  • Keep the other fingers of both the hands straight and extended as much as possible.

DIET IN ASTHMA

What to eat
Bottle Gourd, Carrot, Cabbage, Bitter Gourd Garlic, Fenugreek, Drumstick, Tinda, Torai, etc.
What not to eat
Potato, Banana, Pineapple, Maize, Curd, Ice Cream, Junk Food, Cold Drinks, etc.
Dietary Treatments for Asthma

  • Avoid fried and processed foods
  • Avoid food such as rice, curds, buttermilk, sugar, lentils, heavy milk products like cheese, paneer etc...which has natural tendency to produce the phlegm or to accumulate the mucus
  • Drink boiled water in plenty
  • Avoid over eating. Take light dinner one hour before going to bed
  • Avoid fruits such as guava, papaya, watermelon and banana

In light of these findings, scientists began to look at relationships between asthma and specific vitamins in fruit that are thought to have antioxidant and other anti-inflammatory properties. These include:
•  Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that is thought to provide some anti-inflammatory properties in the pathophysiology of asthma. Foods such as broccoli, bell peppers, oranges, strawberries, and lemons contain significant amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C is found in high concentrations in the lining of the lung.
•  Vitamin C deficiency is associated with lung dysfunction in both adults and children, and this may be due to possible increases in inflammation. Similarly, asthmatic children have lower vitamin C levels compared to children without asthma, which points to the possibility that lower levels of vitamin C lead to increased inflammation and increased risk or symptoms of asthma. However, vitamin C supplementation has not consistently led to significant improvements in asthma symptoms or objective measurements such pulmonary function tests or spirometer.
• Vitamin E: While vitamin E is less studied in asthma research compared to vitamin C, higher vitamin E levels are associated with less skin sensitization, lower I.e. levels, and decreased inflammation in asthma pathophysiology. People with increased dietary, but not supplemental, intake of vitamin E less commonly develop asthma. However, randomized controlled clinical trials of supplemental vitamin E in asthmatics have not consistently demonstrated that taking supplemental vitamin E improved or prevented asthma or asthma symptoms.
• Vitamin A and Beta-carotene: Like the other vitamins discussed, vitamin A and beta-carotene are thought to have antioxidant properties that may improve inflammation in asthma. While these have been the least studied vitamins in asthma research, two small studies have shown that one week of eating foods high in these vitamins or taking supplements can help prevent exercise induced asthma. Because the studies were small, however, there are no current recommendations for vitamin supplementation in the prevention of exercise induced asthma.
•  Zinc: Low levels of zinc have been found in patients with asthma and zinc deficiency is associated with inflammation, but may or may not actually impact asthma.

HOME REMEDIES

Here are the remedies lists for natural treatment to cure asthma.

  1. Vitamin E is essential for Asthma patients so go for Sprouted wheat, Soya been, Coconut, tomato, grapes, dry fruits etc.
  2. Calcium is also essential for Asthma patents, take milk, Spinach (Palak), Amaranth (Cholayi). Carrot Gooseberry (Amla), paneer Arrow root (Paniphal or Singhada) etc.
  3. Two Figs (Anjeer) dipped overnight and taken in the morning for few days helps to cure Asthma.
  4. Fenugreek (Menthi) and Carom seeds (Ajwain) boiled in water filtered and this decoction mixed with Honey taken thrice a day regularly cure Asthma.
  5. In one Betel leaf (Pan) put 5 Basil (Tulsi) leaves, one Clove, Pinch of Camphor (Karpoor) and folds it. Eat this every day to cure Asthma.
  6. Dry Dates (Chuara) and Dates (Khajur) both gives strength to lungs which is beneficial for curing Asthma.
  7. In one cup of hot water mix one spoon of lemon juice, two spoons of Honey and a spoon of Ginger juice. Drinking this daily helps to cure Asthma.
  8. Garlic juice mixed with Honey or Garlic juice with hot water can be taken every day is very good for Asthma patients.
  9. One Ounce of Brahmi juice taken in the morning for 21 days cure Asthma.
  10. Eating Turmeric powder with hot water is a good remedy for curing Asthma.
  11. Four Long peppers (Pipple) Boiled with a glass of Milk, Filtered added sugar and taking this milk everyday helps in during Asthma.
  12. Bitter gourd ( Karela) is also good for Asthma patients
  13. Wheat grass juice taken every day is a very good remedy to cure Asthma.
  14. Drinking sweet lime (Mosambi) juice with hot water, Cumin (Jeera) powder and dry Ginger powder (Sonth) helps in curing Asthma.
  15. Natural Asthma Treatment with Mint drinking a spoon of Mint (Pudina) juice with water every day helps to cure Asthma.
  16. Ginger, Long pepper (Pipple), Black pepper (Kali Mirchi) in equal quantities powdered and one spoon of this powder taken with Honey everyday cures Asthma.
  17. Draining Honey with hot water thrice a day helps to reduce Asthma.
  18. Bael juice with spoon of long pepper (Pipple) powder of Honey taken thrice a week cures Asthma.
  19. One cup of cow milk or goat milk mixed with a spoon of Turmeric Powder, Black pepper powder and Sugar taken every day helps to cure Asthma.
  20. Bale leaves boiled in water, filtered and this filtered water taken hot, helps to reduce Asthma.
  21. Taking half spoon of Black pepper powder mixed with a spoon of Honey helps in reducing Asthma.
  22. Banana leaf burnt and its ash mixed with Honey taken cures Asthma. This is very old traditional approach for asthma treatment.
  23. Massaging the chest with Mustard (Sarson) oil mixed with Rock helps to get relief from Asthma.
  24. Boiled milk with turmeric powder (Haldi) (1 tsp) added could be taken instead of coffee or tea in the morning and night is a very beneficial for asthma treatment.

 

 

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