Asthma

Definition


Asthma - is a disease of the lungs whereby the airways become obstructed. Asthma is characterized by asthmatic attacks in which spasms in the muscles surrounding the small airways constrict, preventing the outward passage of air. Symptoms of an asthma attack include wheezing, coughing, a tight sensation in the chest, and difficulty breathing.

The number of Americans with asthma has increased by one third in the last decade. Today, asthma affects over 10 million people, or about 4 percent of the U.S. population. Adults over 65 and children under 16 are five times as likely to suffer from asthma.

Cause

Asthma is the result of chronic inflammation and hypersensitivity of the airways to various stimuli. In a susceptible individual, asthmatic attacks are instigated by exposure to allergens or irritants. Common asthma-producing substances include chemicals, drugs, animal dander, dust mites, food additives, environmental pollutants, and food allergies.

Although there seems to be a genetic predisposition to asthma, whether or not a person actually develops asthma is dependent on a variety of factors including an improper diet, and mismanaged illnesses over the course of many years. For example, an infant with a food allergy to milk, who is given a milk-based formula, may develop a high number of ear infections as a toddler. Instead of being taken off the dairy, the child is repeatedly given antibiotics that cause gastrointestinal problems leading to leaky gut syndrome. Now that the integrity of the intestine has been compromised, more food allergies will result, thereby increasing the likelihood that the airways of the lung will become inflamed. Eventually, perhaps years later, the cumulative effects of gastrointestinal problems and food allergies will result in asthma.

Diagnosis

Asthma can be difficult to diagnose. It mimics other lung diseases including lower respiratory infections, emphysema, and bronchitis. Chest x-rays and spirometry (a procedure that measures air taken into and out of the lungs) can aid in diagnosis. Prompt diagnosis is important to avoid the serious danger that asthma can pose.

Natural Therapy

  • Quercitin in the amount of 1500mg, and bromelain in the amount of 500mg, have an antihistaminic effect. These two supplements taken together can stabilize cells to stop inflammation.
  • Essential fatty acids from flaxseed oil, fish oils, or borage oil in the amount of 4-5 grams per day can diminish inflammatory prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are substances that are produced from fats. Bad prostaglandins that cause inflammation come from animal products such as dairy and meats. Healthy fats such as borage oil and fish oils produce good prostaglandins that inhibit inflammation. It is important that in addition to taking fats in supplement form, the diet is altered to diminish animal products. A diet high in plants as well as legumes is wise.
  • Eliminate food allergies and eat a whole foods diet. This is extremely important. Avoidance of food allergens and cleaning up ones diet can sometimes cure asthma.
  • Treat leaky gut if suspected. This, along with poor diet and food allergies are usually the cause of asthma.
  • Vitamin C in the amount of 2-3 grams per day can help fight inflammation as well as protect lung tissue. The addition of bioflavonoids and vitamin E is also important.
  • Take a good multivitamin/multimineral supplement. Children should take a children's formula. Good underlying nutrient status is important in immune function.
  • Magnesium in the amount of 500mg per day can act as a bronchodilator.
  • The herbs ginkgo biloba, stinging nettle, lobelia, and licorice root are useful.
  • Warning: Licorice root should be used with caution if you have high blood pressure because it has the ability to elevate blood pressure. When uncertain about taking any supplement, you should talk to a doctor familiar with natural medicine.
  • Consider fasting, or systemic detoxification techniques once per month to eliminate toxins and mucus.
  • Chiropractic manipulation, acupuncture, and heavy massage in the upper back can positively affect the nerve supply to the lungs by altering the sympathetic outflow of the spinal cord. The sympathetic portion of the central nervous system is responsible for the amount of smooth muscle tone in the airways. These therapies can act as bronchodilators, as well as immune system enhancers.
  • Be patient. The above recommendations may result in a decrease in asthma symptoms in several weeks; however, the underlying changes in your internal chemistry have taken years to develop. Adopting a healthier lifestyle is ultimately the answer.