29 Ocak 2008 Salı

Tips to Improve Your Asthma

1. Practice breathing from the diaphragm or abdomen instead of the chest. When you are breathing correctly the belly will push outward on breathing in, and contract or tighten when breathing out. The chest and shoulders do not rise up.

2. If you do start wheezing or getting short of breath try to breath slower while relaxing the rest of your body. This reduces the demand for oxygen in the body. If you are exercising slow down or stop.

3. Stop smoking or hanging out in smoky rooms whenever possible. If you live with a smoker who won’t quit or go outside to smoke then encourage the use of an air-filter or devise that sucks up the smoke. Don’t underestimate the dangers of second hand smoke, particularly on children and the elderly.

4. Try swimming as the exercise of choice. The increased moisture seems to lessen the chance of spasm of the bronchial tubes. Starting slowly with walking or a stationary bike can also safely improve cardiovascular stamina.

5. Drink extra glasses of water or liquids. With more rapid breathing it is easier to get dehydrated. Some regular tea is ok as it has a chemical to relax the bronchial tubes called Theo bromide, similar to the asthma medicine theophylline.

6. If you are using a rescue inhaler such as Albuterol more than three times a week you may need a preventive medicine either as another inhaler and/or a pill such as Singulair. Keep ahead of your asthma. At the first sign of worsening, use your medications early. In the end you will require less medicine overall. Make sure you tell your doctor if your symptoms become more frequent. In short, DON’T WAIT.

7. Often people with asthma also have allergies to pollen, animals, and dust. Discuss with your doctor getting allergy testing to see if desensitization shots will cure the problem. Be sure to mention stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes “sinus problems” during your visit if they occur.

10 Steps to Asthma Self Help

Managing asthma is not something your doctor can do for you all by himself. Asthma self help is an important part of treating and managing your condition so that it doesn’t take over your entire life. Your doctor may prescribe both daily medication and medication to take in case of an acute asthma episode, but the task of minimizing risk of asthma attack and taking care of yourself on a daily basis is largely up to you and your family. Learning some key asthma self help tricks can help you keep your asthma under control so that it doesn’t interfere with your daily life.

Because asthma can be caused, triggered or worsened by so many things, there are many things that you can do to lessen the frequency and severity of the symptoms. Your doctor will offer important suggestions in addition to medication to help you manage your asthma. Think of those suggestions as a personalized asthma self help plan. A major part of asthma self help involves avoiding asthma triggers. Some ways that you can help yourself if you or someone in your family has asthma include:

1. The first and most important step in asthma self help is to follow your doctor’s orders. Don’t stop taking daily medication just because you feel better. If he’s prescribed daily peak flow measurements, be sure to follow instructions carefully and measure daily to monitor your condition.

2. If you smoke, quit. Whether the asthma sufferer is you or a child in your family, cigarette smoke is one of the most common asthma triggers known.

3. Keep the house dust-free – or as close to dust-free as possible. Dust is another common asthma trigger. Use a cylinder vacuum instead of an upright – preferably one that encloses the vacuum cleaner bag inside a solid canister to minimize pumping dust back into the air.

4. If you can, remove carpets and heavy draperies. They’re dust-catchers that easily breed dust mites. If you can’t remove them, vacuum them frequently using a canister vacuum cleaner.

5. Avoid using down feather pillows and comforters, and use a plastic cover on your mattress. Mattresses and pillows can harbor dust mites. The same goes for stuffed animals and other ‘soft’ decorations.

6. Cover your mouth and nose with a scarf in cold weather. Cold air is another common asthma trigger.

7. If your asthma is triggered by allergens, monitor the outside air quality daily. Avoid open fields and woodsy areas during peak pollen seasons, and take extra care when air quality is in danger ranges.

8. Mold is another common allergen that triggers asthma. Keeping mold down is another important part of asthma self help care. Dry wet laundry immediately, and wash and disinfect bathrooms and showers regularly. Remove houseplants, as mold grows in their soil.

9. Pet dander can also trigger asthma symptoms. If you can’t part with a pet because of emotional ties, at least keep it out of the bedroom to minimize your exposure to dander.

10. Avoid foods, medications and drinks that cause allergic reactions.

What are the Most Common Asthma Triggers?

An asthma attack is often triggered by exposure to an allergen of some sort – an asthma trigger. Identifying a food or environmental asthma trigger can help you avoid it – and lessen the risk of an acute asthma attack. While there are some people who have food allergies or are especially sensitive to particular things, there are some items that are well-known, common asthma triggers. By controlling your exposure to an asthma trigger, you can reduce the severity and frequency of your asthma symptoms.

Dust Mites

Dust mites are one of the most common asthma triggers known. Dust mites are tiny insects that live on sloughed off skin cells and excrete a substance that tends to trigger attacks in many people who have asthma. Dust mites breed and grow in mattresses, pillows, stuffed animals, carpets, draperies – anywhere that is soft and offers somewhere for them to burrow and hide. You can control dust mites in your environment by using covers on mattresses and pillows, getting rid of stuffed animals in bedrooms, and remove carpets and draperies.


Separate from dust mites, dust itself can be an asthma trigger because it’s a bronchial irritant. Wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth to keep from scattering dust when cleaning, and use a canister (or water-filtered) vacuum cleaner to avoid spewing dust from the carpet into the air to be inhaled.


Mold spores are another asthma trigger found in many homes. To keep the exposure to mold down, wipe down bathroom tiles regularly with bleach or a disinfectant, dry clean laundry immediately and reduce moisture in the air with a dehumidifier.

Cockroach Parts

Cockroach litter and parts contain an irritant/allergen that is an asthma trigger for many children. While most people associate cockroaches with dirt and poor housekeeping, cockroaches are just as happy in very clean homes. Roach traps and other insecticides can help keep the cockroach population down.

Pet Dander

Shed skin cells from pets can be one of the most virulent of asthma triggers. If you can’t bring yourself to part with your pet, at least keep it out of the family sleeping areas to reduce the chance of exposure to pet dander.


At certain times of the year, pollen can become a pervasive asthma trigger. During hay fever season, particular if you live in an area that also has poor air quality. Many newspapers and radio stations publish a daily air quality rating. Make a point of knowing when the air quality is unhealthy and avoid going outside, or at least engaging in any vigorous activity outdoors.

Cold Air

Cold dry air can trigger an asthma attack in people who are sensitive to it. It may be because the cold tends to dry out bronchial tissues more quickly than warm moist air. In any case, wearing a scarf or face mask in cold temperatures, particularly if you’re exercising at all, can help reduce the incidence of asthma attacks due to cold.


Exercise can sometimes be an asthma trigger. The reason, doctors think, is most likely that during exercise most people breathe more quickly and shallowly, drying out lung and bronchial tissues more quickly.

Food Allergies

Food and other allergies can also trigger asthma attacks. These are far more individualized, though peanuts are one of the more common. Obviously, if you’re aware of food allergies, avoiding them can help reduce your risk of having an asthma attack.

What is Allergy Induced Asthma?

One of the more common forms of asthma is allergy induced asthma. When someone is exposed to an allergen – a substance to which their body is sensitive – they may produce ‘histamines’, which cause inflammation and irritation as they work to rid the body of the allergen. In the case of allergy induced asthma, the histamines go to work on the bronchial passages and lungs, making it difficult for the allergic person to breathe.

The incidence of allergy induced asthma has grown almost geometrically in recent years, and scientists aren’t quite sure why. They suspect that part of the reason may be the increased exposure of children to some common allergens. This seems to be borne out by population based studies – African-American and Hispanic children living in the inner city are far more likely to develop allergy induced asthma than Caucasian children in the same cities, and even those children are more likely to develop allergy induced asthma than suburban and rural children of the same socioeconomic level.

A number of reasons have been advanced for the disparity, but the most likely is simply that Black and Hispanic children are far more likely to live in the most crowded old neighborhoods of the city. Crowding is the biggest risk factor for the presence of common household pests like cockroaches and rodents, and cockroach parts and rodent droppings are two of the most common allergens in children with allergy induced asthma.

Diagnosing Allergy Induced Asthma

Doctors will diagnose asthma differently depending on the age of the patient. Children under five, for instance, may find it difficult to follow instructions for breathing capacity tests. Doctors will often use history, both the child’s and the family medical history, to help determine the possibility of asthma. Often, if asthma is suspected, the doctor will prescribe a bronchodilator. If it helps, the diagnosis is confirmed.

In older children and adults, doctors may perform a series of breathing capacity tests with a peak flow meter and a spirometer to help determine the extent of an asthma problem.

Generally, doctors don’t use allergy tests to diagnose asthma, but if there’s a reason to believe that a specific allergen is a problem, allergic dermatitis tests may be used to confirm or rule out possible allergens. Knowing that a specific substance or food is a problem can help you avoid it and reduce your risk of asthma attacks.

Treating Allergy Induced Asthma

The good news is that interventions to reduce exposure to allergens seems to be as effective a treatment for allergy induced asthma as corticosteroid inhalers. If your child has been diagnosed with allergy induced asthma, there are ways that you can help control your child’s symptoms. Besides using inhalers and nebulizers as directed by your doctor, you can also keep your home – and especially your child’s bedroom – as close to allergen free as possible. Mattress covers, pillow cases, air filters and pest control measures can reduce your child’s exposure to allergens that cause allergy induced asthma to worsen into acute stages.

Antioxidants May Prevent Childhood Asthma

A source suggests that there may be a new way to help children who are subjected to the dangers of second hand tobacco smoke.

It has become apparent that childhood asthma could be prevented with the help of antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, and Selenium. This is especially true in cases involving children who are exposed to cigarette smoke.

Researchers in a 2004 study looked at data collected from a sample of 6153 four to sixteen year old children. It was discovered that dietary supplementation of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and Selenium caused a 10% to 20% overall reduction in asthma prevalence.

A likely reason for this is the high levels of serum that are contained in these highly effective antioxidant substances.

The most surprising part of the study, however, was that the effect was considerably much more pronounced in cases where the children were exposed to environmental second hand tobacco smoke. In these cases, supplementation was associated with an enormous 50% reduction in asthma prevalence.

These results seem to indicate that supplementing your child's diet with Selenium, as well as with vitamin C and beta-carotene is an excellent way to protect them against the damaging effects that second hand smoke can have on their growing lungs.

Coping with Asthma

Managing and controlling asthma is very important for asthma sufferers. Knowing the triggers that affect your airways and learning to avoid these things is key.

Asthma triggers can be any number of things. If you smoke or allow smoking in your home, you should stop. Wash sheets, blankets, and pillows once a week and look into dust-proof covers for mattresses to help control dust mites. If the pollen count is too high, stay indoors.

Asthma suffers affected by cold air should wear a scarf over the mouth and nose in winter, and should wash their hands often and get a flu shot to prevent colds and the flu. Food triggers should be avoided. If animal dander is a problem, owning a pet can be a major hassle. Keep the pet out of the house, or at least out of your bedroom, and wash your pet often. Keeping humidity levels at a rate beneficial to your health is crucial, but avoid the use of humidifiers.

Once you know what your triggers are and how to control them, you should make a plan of action with your physician. Your doctor will help you figure out if any of your current medications are affecting your asthma, and what asthma medication is right for you. You should follow your asthma plan properly with the correct usage of your medication. If you're unsure about the use of your medication, consult your doctor, who can teach you how to properly use the inhaler or other treatment methods.

Controlling your asthma is crucial, but if your asthma symptoms are not under control, it can get worse. If your symptoms happen more often and are getting worse, or you have to use a quick-relief inhaler often (every day is too often), you should contact your doctor for a change in medication or other steps to control your asthma.

Asthma affects so many people and should be managed and controlled to keep the dilemma from getting out of hand. Using and sticking to a plan that works for both you and your doctor is the only way to ensure that your asthma is controlled properly.

This article is for information purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any health issue or illness. If you have or think you have asthma or any other illness, consult your physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Asthmatics – Don't Suffer At Altitude!

Some kinds of exercise cause problems for asthmatics. Activities like climbing and skiing have an additional problem. Not only are there the exercise problems, but the altitude itself can cause an additional challenge of its own.

It is possible that people with asthma are more likely to be affected by altitude sickness. But what is altitude sickness? And why should asthma sufferers be more likely to suffer from it?

Simply put, people who live at lower altitudes can become ill when they visit high areas. They can feel light-headed, suffer from headache, suffer from fatigue, insomnia and palpitations, or experience lack of appetite, diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

One of the most acute collections of symptoms is around breathing difficulties; liquid accumulates in the lungs.

Will altitude affect your asthma?

The conditions are high altitudes are often dry and cold, and these conditions tend to worsen or trigger asthma. If your asthma is triggered by cold conditions, you might find that high altitudes are a problem, as the air temperature usually decreases at higher altitudes.

Bear in mid, though, that fit, healthy people with well-controlled asthma should have no problems coping with high altitudes, provided that they go up slowly. Recognise and accept your limitations. Make sure you have all your medicines with you. You may need to adjust your dose, and to plan your intake before, through and after your activity.

But be careful. In freezing conditions, pressurized inhalers may not work properly. They should be warmed (e.g. in the hands) before use.

Take it easy

Climbing and skiing can be very strenuous exercise and may trigger exercise-induced asthma in some people.

Some kinds of asthma may be eased

If your asthma is triggered by house-dust mites, you may even find that your asthma improves. Surprised? Why should this be? Simply because the house-dust mite cannot survive at altitudes higher than 'the snow line'.

Take time to acclimatize

People with asthma who fly directly into a place that is at high altitude will not have time to acclimatize and may experience problems. So talk to your doctor so that the altitude if you're flying to a high-altitude destination several weeks before you leave. This will allow you time to work out a personal asthma action plan for the trip.

Your plan might involve increasing your preventer treatment for several weeks before the trip to give the airways extra protection. Or measuring peak flow while away to determine how altitude is affecting your lung function. Or even simple things like ensuring that you have enough medication and backup medication.

Take care when exercising

Make sure you feel right at any particular altitude before going higher. If you start feeling breathless, slow down. Drink plenty of water, and eat small snacks often to prevent altitude sickness. And, do tell your fellow climbers and skiers that you're asthmatic.

Remember to take everything in stages, talk to your doctor and keep your medicines to hand, and you should have a better time this winter.

Living with Asthma

If you have asthma, managing it is an important part of your life. Controlling your asthma means staying away from things that bother your airways and taking medicines as directed by your doctor. If you have asthma, it is important to learn how to take care of yourself.


It is important that you work with your doctor to make an action plan that you are both happy with. As part of this, you will need to:

* Tell your doctor about all other medications and drugs you are taking, in case one of them affects your asthma.

* Follow your asthma action plan and have regular checkups.

* Learn to use your medication correctly. Ask your doctor to teach you how to use your inhaler. This is very important. If inhalers are not used correctly, less medication gets into the airways.

* If you are having problems taking your asthma medicine, seek your doctor's advice immediately.


You also need to learn to identify and avoid the things that can worsen or trigger your asthma symptoms.

* If animal dander is a problem for you, keep your pet out of the house and/or at least out of your bedroom and wash your pet often - or even find it a new home.

* Do not smoke or allow smoking in your home.

* If pollen is a problem for you, stay indoors with the air conditioner on when the pollen count is high.

* To control dust mites, wash your sheets, blankets, pillows, and stuffed toys once a week in hot water. You can get special dust proof covers for your mattress and pillows.

* To prevent colds and flu, wash your hands often and get a flu shot every year. Children with asthma should get flu shots, too.

* If cold air bothers you, wear a scarf over your mouth and nose in the winter.

* If you get asthma when you exercise or do routine physical activities like climbing stairs, work with your doctor to find ways to be active without having asthma symptoms. Physical activity is important.

* If you are allergic to sulphites, avoid foods (like dried fruit) or beverages (like wine) that contain them. For example, sodium metabisulphite (E220–227) may also trigger asthma, but not via an allergic reaction. It can be found in wine, home-brewed beer, fizzy drinks, prepared meats and prepared salads.

* Do not allow smoking indoors unless there is a room reserved for smokers and which has a separate ventilation system to exhaust smoke outside. Never allow smoking around anyone with asthma.

* Try to keep humidity levels in the home between 30 and 50 percent. High humidity can promote growth of biological agents that may trigger asthma episodes. Use exhaust fans or open windows in the kitchen or bathroom areas when cooking, using the dishwasher, or taking showers. Make sure clothes dryers are vented to the outdoors, and use a dehumidifier in the basement if necessary.

* Avoid using humidifiers. If it cannot be avoided, clean it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Refill it daily with fresh water to prevent the growth of harmful microbes.

* Minimize exposure to combustion particles and gases that can cause breathing difficulties for people with asthma. Have combustion-powered furnaces, stoves, or heaters checked yearly to make sure they are operating properly. Change furnace filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions, or every month or two during periods of use. Consider installing higher efficiency filters to reduce the number of particles in the air. Never use a gas stove to heat the home, and always use the exhaust fan when cooking on a gas stove.

* Avoid sprays like deodorants, perfumes, or air fresheners, odours from paint, and strong smelling cleaners may start a child's asthma attack.

* Keep the house clean to reduce allergens like microscopic dust mites, pollen, and animal dander. Use an allergen-proof comforter and encase mattresses and box springs in vinyl covers. Wash bedding frequently in hot (130°F) water. Avoid furnishings that collect dust.


If your asthma is not under control, there will be signs that you should not ignore. The following are some signs that your asthma is getting worse:

* Your asthma symptoms happen more often.

* Your asthma symptoms are worse than they used to be.

* Your asthma symptoms are bothering you a lot at night and making you lose sleep.

* You are missing school or work because of your asthma.

* Your peak flow number is low or varies a lot from morning to evening.

* Your asthma medications do not seem to be working very well anymore.

* You have to use your short-acting "quick relief" or "rescue" inhaler more often. (Using quick relief medicine every day, or using more than one inhaler a month is too much).

* You have to go to the emergency room or doctor because of an asthma attack.

* You end up in the hospital because of your asthma.

If your asthma seems to be getting worse, see your doctor. You may need to change your medication or take other actions to get your asthma under control.

Living With Asthma

The most important thing you can do when you have asthma is understand how to control your attacks and what type of things trigger of your attacks. Your doctor should also prescribe medication or some sort for you to take or a regular basis, you should also sort out other forms of medication such as natural remedies.

To live a happy and asthma free life you should come up with some sort of action plan with your doctor. Have a schedule or routine that makes you both happy and on the way to a healthy life. You can:

* Find out from your doctor if your medication or natural remedies are affecting your asthma.

* Plan for regular checkups with your doctor.

* Use your medication correctly for example learn how to use your inhaler correctly.

Talk to your doctor to determine what triggers your asthma attacks or what can worsen your condition. Here are some examples.

* When having pets in the house make sure that your not allergic to them if you are you will have to pay more attention to washing your pets, and you may have to put them outside and away from where your sleep.

* You should not smoke or be near people that smoke often especially in your own home.

* Exercise regularly but do not over do it. Some exercise are great for asthma sufferers like swimming. However consult your doctor and find out which exercise is best for you. With regular exercise you can stop exercise induced asthma.

* Check the pollen count and if your allergic to pollen you should stay indoors when there is a high pollen count. Make sure you turn on your air conditioner so you don't have to breath the outside air.

* Try not to get sick from colds and flues by keeping your immune system strong. Talk to your doctor for more advise.

* Make sure you don't have dust mites. One way to ensure this is to clean your blankets, bed sheets, pillows, and stuffed toys regularly.

* Avoid spray cans such as perfumes, air fresheners and deodorants.

* Do not use humidifiers it can cause an attack.

* Clean your house often to reduce the amount microscopic dust mites and particles in the air.

In conclusion you should practise a healthier lifestyle by adopting the right diet, exercise, and action plan that you planed with your doctor.

Understanding Asthma Treatments - Relievers and Preventers

Millions of people around the world suffer from Asthma, a chronic lung condition characterized by difficulty in breathing. During an asthma attack, the sufferer's airways become irritated and react by narrowing and constructing. That causes increased resistance to airflow, and obstructs the flow of the air to and from the lungs.

How is asthma treated?

Asthma is treated using two main types of medicines:

* Quick Relief Treatments: also called relievers. These give rapid, short-term treatment and are taken when you have worsening asthma symptoms that, left untreated, can lead to asthma episodes or attacks. You will feel the effects of these medicines within minutes.

* Long-Term Control Treatments: also called preventers, and are for people with persistent asthma, who need long-term control medicines. Preventers are taken every day, usually over long periods of time, to control chronic (long-term) symptoms and to prevent asthma episodes or attacks. You will feel the full effects of these medicines after taking them for a few weeks.

Drugs related to hormones.

Drugs, such as those resembling two of our hormones, can help treat asthma. These two hormones are epinephrine (adrenaline in the UK) and hydrocortisone (a steroid). Epinephrine is pumped into our bloodstream when we have a sudden fright or emergency - psychologists often call this state fright or flight. Epinephrine is the quick-acting hormone from the middle of the adrenal glands near our kidneys. It makes your pulse race, your heart thump, and readies your body for emergency action. In asthma, the medicines which resemble adrenaline quickly relieve asthma for a short time, and are from the reliever family.

Hydrocortisone comes from the outer part of our adrenal glands, called the 'cortex'. It is also partly an "emergency hormone" but it works much more slowly, for much longer, and in a completely different way to adrenaline. Medicines which resemble hydrocortisone slowly allow the lining of air tubes in an asthma sufferer to become normal. As a result, your asthma becomes less severe and you are less likely to get asthma attacks. So these steroid medicines are part of the preventer family. Steroids are the most powerful preventers currently available.

Other long-term treatments include:

* Long-acting beta-agonists are bronchodilators, not anti-inflammatory drugs. These medicines are used to help control moderate and severe asthma and to prevent night-time symptoms. Long-acting beta-agonists are taken together with inhaled corticosteroids.

* Leukotriene modifiers (such as montelukast, zafirlukast, and zileuton) are long-term control medicines used either alone to treat mild persistent asthma or together with inhaled corticosteroids to treat moderate persistent asthma or severe persistent asthma.

* Cromolyn and nedocromil are used to treat mild persistent asthma.

* Theophylline is used either alone to treat mild persistent asthma or together with inhaled corticosteroids to treat moderate persistent asthma. People who take theophylline should have their blood levels checked to be sure the dose is appropriate.

Be careful. If you stop taking long-term control medicines, your asthma will likely worsen again.

Taking preventers.

Inhaled corticosteroids (or steroids for short) are the preferred treatment for controlling mild, moderate, and severe persistent asthma. They are safe when taken as directed by your doctor.

Inhaled medicines go directly into your lungs where they are needed. There are many kinds of inhalers that require different techniques, and it is important to know how to use your inhaler correctly.

Usually the best way to take these medicines is to breathe them in. That is, you inhale them, through your nose or mouth. The reasons you inhale them are:

* Because you need less of the medicine.

* You won't suffer as many side effects.

* The medicine works more quickly.

The final point is particularly important with the adrenaline-like, fast-acting relievers.

Another advantage is that the hydrocortisone-like steroid preventers you breathe in can be chosen to be biodegradable inside the body. As a result, then can do their work in the lung, but don't get much of a chance to produce any side effects in the rest of your body, because your liver breaks them down.

In some cases, steroid tablets or liquid are used for short times to bring asthma under control. The tablet or liquid form may also be used to control severe asthma.

Taking quick relief medicines.

Quick relief medicines are used only when needed. A type of quick relief medicine is a short-acting inhaled bronchodilator. Bronchodilators work by relaxing the muscles that have tightened around the airways. They help open up airways quickly and ease breathing. They are sometimes called "rescue" or "relief" medicines because they can stop an asthma attack very quickly.

These medicines act quickly but their effects only last for a short period of time. You should take quick relief medicines when you first begin to feel asthma symptoms like coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath. Anyone who has asthma should always carry one of these inhalers in case of an attack. For severe attacks, your doctor may also use steroids to treat the inflammation.

Work closely with your doctor.

Many people with asthma need both a short-acting bronchodilator to use when symptoms worsen and long-term daily asthma control medication to treat the ongoing inflammation. Over time, your doctor may need to make changes in your asthma medication. You may need to increase your dose, lower your dose, or try a combination of medications. Be sure to work with your doctor to find the best treatment for your asthma. The goal is to use the least amount of medicine necessary to control your asthma.

Allergies And Asthma

Among all allergic and respiratory-related diseases, asthma makes up the majority. Asthma is perhaps one of the leading causes of respiratory illness among children and young adults although this condition may progress a lifetime.

While it is considered an allergy, asthma is so prevalent (especially among children) that it deserves to be addressed in its own chapter.

Proper care and health maintenance is essential to warding off the debilitating repercussions of exposure to irritants which could trigger all the symptoms underlying such disease.

The following information provides you with all of the basic need-to-know information about asthma, its exact nature, progression of the disease and current medical treatment in place to treat the symptoms manifested by patients.

What Exactly Is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by difficulty of breathing, wheezing, coughing, and increased mucus production during recurrent attacks. These same symptoms can cause death in some cases depending on the severity of the amount of allergens involved and antihistamine molecules produced by the body enough to block the airways for the transportation of air to the lungs.

Around 7 to 10% of children experience the condition and current statistics shows an increasing number of sufferers. Asthma does not seem to be an inherited disease since a family member, who apparently do not have relatives exhibiting the symptoms of the disease, can be infected anytime should he or she is exposed to environmental factors triggering the onset of the disease.

People with this medical condition have a very sensitive bronchial pathway. Presence of molecules or particles recognized by the body as foreign can set a huge allergic attack characteristic of the condition described above.

From a medical point of view, asthma is a type of allergy. Allergy is defined as a change in the body's biological activity due to the presence of one or more types of allergens (substance promoting the symptoms of allergy.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, more than 50 million Americans are suffering from allergy and currently 20 million individuals, comprising the wide-range of America's population experiences the symptoms of asthma.

Causes Of Asthma

Causes of asthma can be in the form of dust, certain chemicals, scents, and various odors. Other trigger factors may be in the form of temperature. Cold or hot air can provoke allergic reactions to patients sensitive to them. In any case, allergic reactions are specific to individuals and not all individuals suffering from allergy responds universally to all types allergens.

Particularly interesting clients are the ones allergic to some forms of physical activity like exercise. In the same manner, emotional state is one factor for some individuals in order for the characteristic asthma symptoms to set in.

Among all these influential agents, smoke has been found to occupy the universally recognized trigger attacks for patients with asthma especially for children. At least 8 out of 10 children are more prone to developing asthmatic conditions once exposed to these agents.

Perhaps, as society becomes industrialized and increased fume emissions accelerates, more and more people will develop symptoms characteristic of this disease.

10 Paths To Conquer Asthma

Asthma is a condition where due to certain stimuli a person experiences narrowing of air passages and difficulty in breathing. Treatment for asthma should be done under the guidance of a doctor and should be planned carefully. The key lies in recognizing the causes and managing the condition such that you are in control of the situation.

Treatments include:

1. Preventive action where you avoid situations that triggers off symptoms.

2. Practice meditation and breathing exercises to strengthen the air passages and lungs.

3. Exercise regularly to keep fit and to strengthen your heart as well as lungs.

4. Use air conditioning this will reduce your exposure to air born pollen and other triggers.

5. Keep your environment free of dust mites, pet dander, fur and feathers by regularly vacuuming and decontaminating your mattresses, pillows, sofas, throws, carpets, as well as curtains and covers.

6. Use inhalers which are of three types: aerosol inhalers; breath-actuated inhalers; and dry powder inhalers. These contain medication in aerosol form to provide immediate relief.

7. Drugs like short acting beta agonist namely salbutamol and terbutaline are first prescribed. The alternative medications are long acting beta2 agnostics like salmeterol or formoterol or antimuscarinics like ipratropium or oxitropium. In layman terms asthma medication is of two kinds anti-inflammatory medicines and bronchodilators. Common medicines are Albuterol, Altrovent, Pulmocort Respules.

8. Combination therapies where a steroid along with long acting medication are prescribed. Alternately, a combination of antimuscarinic and short acting beta 2 agnostic is used.

9. Use of special equipments like a peak flow meter which will warn you of an impeding attack and an inhaler spacer which will ensure efficient disbursement of medication.

10. Allergen Immunotherapy where the patient is desensitized to asthma causing allergens like smoke, weed, grass, pollen, dust, mold and so on. Similarly the patient is tested for food allergies that trigger off attacks and treated for them.

Research indicates that the best option for patients is to maintain a dairy and record when and why attacks occur. This will give a clear understanding of triggers. Then the next step is to create an asthma management plan with the help of your doctor. To strengthen the mind and spirit patients are often asked to join therapy groups that talk about fears, problems faced by asthmatics, personal experiences, and work together at breathing exercises and other regimens to strengthen their bodies.

Asthma Treatment - Do You Need It?

Every week people die of Asthma. Often we do not know how to prevent it, and what signs to look for if we are contracting asthma.

Asthma is on the increase every year, so we should be made more aware of the causes and what to do in order to prevent ourselves or children of the next generations from becoming asthmatics. As many as 15-20 million people in the USA alone have asthma, with a third of these teenagers and younger.

Most of us have heard of Asthma, but have no idea were it is from or why it is called that. The word asthma is a Greek word basically translating as the verb to pant. It can be contracted at any age, and is thought to be heredity. It is basically a lung disease, the leaves you short of breath due to the lungs inflaming, in turn causing breathing airways to narrow. Many sufferers can locate the problem and help prevent the asthmatic attacks from taking place, but sadly there is no guaranteed cure for asthma. Therefore asthma treatment may be the way forward for most sufferers.

Most common causes are thought to be dust, smoke or pollen. Even perfumes, chemicals, animal hair, and in some cases stress and nerves. Years ago many experts believed exercise help aggravate and cause asthma, although in more modern times and after more research, it is recommended on a daily basis, to help keep the body in a fit and healthy condition. If exercising with asthma, you should consult with your doctor what levels of exercise you can cope with and what you should do in order to exercise without having an attack. Often correct warm ups and warm downs should be sufficient.

Asthma is quite often frightening to either the sufferer or whoever is watching an asthmatic attack. During normal breathing, the muscles that surround the airways are relaxed, and air moves freely, where as asthmatics experience the muscles tightening around these airways, causing air not to move as freely. The slightest upset, stress, shock or anything can trigger an asthmatic attack due to asthmatics having very sensitive airways.

If you see anyone having an attack or experience one yourself you should sit leaning forward, and if possible place something warm on your chest to help relax your chest muscles. Take your inhaler or have a plastic bag to ease your breathing. If you are asthmatic you should definitely not be smoking. Reducing asthma can be helped by having ginkgo biloba, mullein, licorice root, marshmallow root or slippery elm in your weekly diet.

Acupuncture For Asthma - Fact Or Fiction?

Acupuncture for asthma may sound like an odd combination. One is a common disease that affects approximately 20 million Americans; the other is a mysterious, esoteric, alternative medicine technique. Lots of people have asthma, but not many people have tried acupuncture.

But if you are an asthma sufferer, it can seem at times that anything - even something as mysterious as acupuncture - is worth trying. Breathing is something that most us never think about. It's an unconscious process and unless we're ill, we easily get the oxygen we need. But for people with asthma, breathing is always on their minds. There is always the chance that an asthma attack will leave them gasping for air. Sometime these attacks are predictable and sometimes they are not, sometimes they are minor and easily handled at home, and sometimes asthma suffers end up in an emergency room. It's no wonder that some asthma sufferers have turned to acupuncture for asthma.

Asthma is a chronic disease with no cure. There are different types of asthma, but they all produce the same signs and symptoms: rapid breathing, sweating, rapid heartbeat, and the uncomfortable sensation of suffocation. The exact cause of asthma is not known (there may be a genetic factor at work), but there is no doubt that environmental factors - cold, dust, pollution, etc - trigger the attacks. During the attacks, inflammation and constriction of the respiratory passages limit the amount of air that can be inhaled, the attacks can last for minutes or hours and as mentioned earlier, there is no cure. But although there is no cure, there are constant efforts to find new methods of treatment, and there are practitioners and patients who believe that acupuncture for asthma is the answer.

Acupuncture (the word comes from the Latin words acus, meaning needle, and pungere, meaning to puncture) is a very old system of medicine. It is not clear where acupuncture originates from, but it has been most closely associated with China. In acupuncture, very narrow needles are inserted into the skin (just barely penetrating the surface) at certain key points in the body. The needles are said to correct a disharmony in the flow of energy through the body, a disharmony that is said to be the cause of disease. Traditional, Western medicine has several theories about how acupuncture works (e.g., it may stimulate the release of natural pain relievers, endorphins) but has not yet completely explained how acupuncture.

Of course, the big question is, does acupuncture work? And can acupuncture successfully treat asthma? Well, not unlike the search for an explanation for how asthma works, the answers are not clear - and they depend on whom you ask. According to traditional acupuncturists, yes, acupuncture for asthma is an effective treatment, especially with asthma in young children. There are dozens of websites and thousands of testimonials that all attest to the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for asthma. Acupuncture, they say, has worked where nothing else has.

But ask the same question - does acupuncture for asthma work - of doctors and scientists who have been trained in traditional, Western medicine and scientific methodology, and the answer will be quite different. Acupuncture, they say, is as interesting phenomenon, but the question of how it works is less important than the question does it work, and their answer to that is no. There is no conclusive evidence that acupuncture for asthma works, and a review of the scientific studies that have attempted to answer this question have not proven acupuncture to be a viable technique for treating asthma. If there are reports that it works, these can be explained by the placebo effect (The placebo effect states that medications or medical techniques/ procedures may be perceived by the patient as effective because they believe they are effective, but there is no measurable effect).

So can acupuncture truly help someone who suffers from asthma? That seems to depend on your point of view. If you feel that illness is caused by disruption in energy flow and you are convinced by anecdotal reports, the only reasonable answer is: try it and find out. Acupuncture for asthma is very safe; serious adverse effects are very rare. But if you are the type of person who needs proof in the traditional sense, it may make more sense to stick with the medications/therapies you are taking and wait for solid evidence that acupuncture can help treat your asthma.

Home Remedies for Asthma

Modem medical system has not been able to find a cure for this crippling disease. Drugs and vaccines have only limited value in alleviating the symptoms. Most of these are habit forming and the dose has to be increased from time to time to give the same amount of relief. The frequent introduction of drugs in the system, while giving only temporary relief, tends to make asthma chronic and incurable. Allergy, which is the immediate cause of asthma, itself is an indication of lowered resistance and internal disharmony caused by faulty eating and bad habits. This is the root cause and the real cure lies in a return to nature.

The natural way to treat asthma consists of stimulating the functioning of slack excretory organs, adopting appropriate diet patterns to eliminate morbid matter and reconstruct the body, and practising yogasanas, yogic kriyas and pranayamas to permit proper assimilation of food and to strengthen the lungs, digestive system and circulatory organs.

The patient should be given an enema to clean the colon and prevent auto-intoxication. Mud-packs applied to the abdomen will relieve the fermentation caused by undigested food and will promote intestinal peristalsis. Wet packs should be applied to the chest to relieve the congestion of the lungs and strengthen them. The patient should be made to perspire through steam bath, hot foot bath, hot hip bath and sun bath. This will stimulate the skin and relieve congested lungs.

The patient should fast for a few days on lemon juice with honey and thereafter resort to a fruit juice diet to nourish the system and eliminate the toxins. Solid foods can be included gradually. The patient should, however, avoid the common die tic errors. Ideally, his diet should contain a limited quantity of carbohydrates, fats and proteins which are acid-forming foods, and a liberal quantity of alkaline foods consisting of fresh fruits, green vegetables and germinated gram. Foods which tend to produce phlegm such as rice, sugar, lentils and curds as also fried and other difficult-to-digest foods should be avoided.

Asthmatics should always eat less than their capacity. They should eat slowly, chewing their food properly. They should drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day, but should avoid taking water or any liquid with meals. Spices, chillies and pickles, too much tea and coffee should also be avoided.

Asthma, particularly when the attack is severe, tends to destroy the appetite. In such cases, do not force the patient to eat. He should be kept on fast till the attack is over. He should, however, take a cup of warm water every two hours. An enema taken at that time will be very beneficial.

Eating the right foods may alleviate or prevent asthmatic attack by helping control underlying inflammation of air passages, dilating air passages, thinning down mucus in the lungs and preventing food allergy reactions that trigger asthma attacks.

Eating onion regularly is one of the most effective remedies for asthma. A prominent researcher in the field, Dr. Walter Dorsch of Johannes-Guttenberg University in Mainz, Germany, has discovered strong anti-inflammatory activity in both onion juice and specific onion compounds. In one such test, an onion chemical diphenylthiosulphinate displayed higher anti-inflammatory activity than the popular anti inflammatory drug prednisolone. Dr. Dorsch has found that onions do have direct anti-asthmatic effects. He credits thiosulphinates in onions as the major active anti-inflammatory agents. However, onions are the richest of all foods in another powerful anti-inflammatory compound, quercetin, which also can relieve allergies.

Eating hot pungent foods can give immediate relief from asthma. According to Dr. Irwin Ziment, a pulmonary disease expert, hot chilli pepper, spicy mustard, garlic and onions can all make breathing easier for asthmatics by opening up air passage. He explains that such foods have mucus moving activity that thins out the viscous mucus which otherwise would plug up the small airways, making breathing difficult for asthmatics. Dr. Ziment believes that fiery foods stimulate nerve endings in the digestive tract which releases waterly fluids in the mouth, throat and lungs. These secretions help thin down the mucus, so it does not clog airways and can be expelled, allowing normal breathing.

Honey is considered beneficial in the treatment of asthma. It is said that if a jug of honey is held under the nose of an asthma patient and he inhales the air that comes into contact with the honey, he starts breathing easier and deeper. The effect lasts for about an hour or so. This is because honey contains a mixture of 'higher' alcohols and ethereal oils and the vapours given off by them are soothing and beneficial to the asthma patients. Honey usually brings relief whether the air flowing over it is inhaled or whether it is eaten or taken either in milk or water. It thins out accumulated mucus and helps its elimination from the respiratory passages. It also tones up the pulmonary parenchyma and thereby prevents the production of mucus in future.

Another effective remedy for asthma is garlic. The patient should be given daily garlic cloves boiled in 30 gms. milk as a cure for early stages of asthma. Steaming ginger tea with minced garlic cloves in it can also help to keep the problem under control and should be taken both in the morning and evening. Turmeric is also regarded as an effective remedy for bronchial asthma. The patient should be given a teaspoon of turmeric powder with a glass of milk two or three times daily. It acts best when taken on an empty stomach.

During the attack, mustard oil mixed with little camphor should be massaged over the back of the chest. This will loosen up phelgm and ease breathing. The patient should also inhale steam from the boiling water mixed with caraway seeds. It will dilate the bronchial passage. The patient should also follow the other laws of Nature. Air, sun and water are great healing agents. Regular fasting once a week, an occasional enema, breathing exercises, fresh air, dry climate, light exercises and correct posture go a long way in treating the disease.

How Asthma-Friendly Is Your School?

Children with asthma need proper support at school to keep their asthma under control and be fully active. Use the questions below to find out how well your school assists children with asthma:

  1. Is your school free of tobacco smoke all of the time, including during school-sponsored events?
  2. Does the school maintain good indoor air quality? Does it reduce or eliminate allergens and irritants that can make asthma worse? Allergens and irritants include pets with fur or feathers, mold, dust mites (for example, in carpets and upholstery), cockroaches, and strong odors or fumes from such products as pesticides, paint, perfumes, and cleaning chemicals.
  3. Is there a school nurse in your school all day, every day? If not, is a nurse regularly available to the school to help write plans and give guidance for students with asthma about medicines, physical education, and field trips?
  4. Can children take medicines at school as recommended by their doctor and parents? May children carry their own asthma medicines?
  5. Does your school have an emergency plan for taking care of a child with a severe asthma episode (attack)? Is it made clear what to do? Who to call? When to call?
  6. Does someone teach school staff about asthma, asthma management plans, and asthma medicines? Does someone teach all students about asthma and how to help a classmate who has it?
  7. Do students have good options for fully and safely participating in physical education class and recess? (For example, do students have access to their medicine before exercise? Can they choose modified or alternative activities when medically necessary?)

If the answer to any question is no, students may be facing obstacles to asthma control. Asthma out of control can hinder a student's attendance, participation, and progress in school. School staff, health professionals, and parents can work together to remove obstacles and to promote students' health and education.

Contact the organizations listed below for information about asthma and helpful ideas for making school policies and practices more asthma-friendly. Federal and State laws are there to help children with asthma.

Asthma can be controlled; expect nothing less.

Resource Organizations for Parents and School Staff

National Asthma Education and Prevention Program
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Information Center
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD 20824-0105
(301) 592-8573
Internet: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/naepp

NAEPP materials include:

  • Managing Asthma: A Guide for Schools
  • Asthma Awareness Curriculum for the Elementary Classroom
  • Asthma and Physical Activity in the School
  • Making a Difference: Asthma Management in the School (video)

Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics, Inc.
2751 Prosperity Avenue, Suite 150
Fairfax, VA 22031
(800) 878-4403 or (703) 641-9595
Internet: http://www.aanma.org

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
611 East Wells Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(800) 822-ASMA or (414) 272-6071
Internet: http://www.aaaai.org

American Academy of Pediatrics
141 Northwest Point Boulevard
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
(800) 433-9016 or (847) 228-5005
Internet: http://www.aap.org

American Association for Respiratory Care
11030 Ables Lane
Dallas, TX 75229-4593
(972) 243-2272
Internet: http://www.aarc.org

American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
85 West Algonquin Road, Suite 550
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(800) 842-7777 or (847) 427-1200
Internet: http://allergy.mcg.edu

American Lung Association
For the affiliate nearest you, call
(800) LUNG USA
Internet: http://www.lungusa.org

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
1125 15th Street, N.W., Suite 502
Washington, DC 20005
(800) 7-ASTHMA or (202) 466-7643
Internet: http://www.aafa.org

Healthy Kids: The Key to Basics
Educational Planning for Students With Asthma and Other Chronic Health Conditions
79 Elmore Street
Newton, MA 02159-1137
(617) 965-9637

National Association of School Nurses
111 Cantril street
Castle Rock, CO 80104
Telephone: (303) 663-0403
Internet: http://www.nasn.org

National Education Association
Health Information Network
1201 16th street, NW, Suite 521
Washington, DC 20036
Telephone: (202) 822-7570
Internet: http://www.asthmaandschools.org

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights, Customer Service Team
Mary E. Switzer Building
330 C Street, S.W.
Washington, DC 20202-1328
(800) 421-3481 or (202) 205-5413
Internet: http://www.ed.gov/offices/OCR

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Indoor Environments Division
401 M Street, S.W. (6604J)
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 233-9370
Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse
(800) 438-4318
Internet: http://www.epa.gov/iaq

Asthma Natural Remedies With No Side Effects

There are many causes of asthma and each person can have different asthma attack triggers. So, each person may need to use a different medical approach and different asthma natural remedies.

Using drugs to control your asthma makes sense when you first discover that you have asthma provided your asthma is well established or life threatening. Once you have your prescriptions and your doctor's instructions, you should consider looking at or experimenting with natural remedies to control or even eliminate your asthma, since drugs are not a cure.

No matter what type of drug or inhaler you are using, they all have their side effects. The longer you use drugs or an inhaler, the less effective they become and most likely you will see side effects.

You should use asthma natural remedies when you are having an asthma attack or when asthma is under control. There are four areas you need to concentrate on when examining asthma natural remedies.

  1. Reduce mucus
  2. Reduce inflammation
  3. Reduce emotional and stressful situation
  4. Improve immune system

Reduce Mucus

By using various herbs you can control and remove mucus from your bronchioles. Test various herbs or herbal combinations to determine which work best for you.

Drink carrot and celery juice and drink plenty of water daily to help dilute and move mucus out of your body.

Reduce Inflammation

There are quite a few different nutrients that can help you reduce inflammation. You should consider using more than one at a time. Start with these and then experiment with the others.

  • Add omega-3 to your diet by using flax seed oil or fish oil
  • Use MSM supplements
  • Take vitamin C supplement
  • Systemic enzymes, try Vitalzyme
  • Digestive enzymes

Reduce Emotional and Stressful Situation

Reducing stress in your life is a difficult area to deal with since some situations in your life are strongly anchored, like your job, your family, your friends, or marital situation. But if these areas are causing your stress and you frequently have asthma attacks, then you have to decide which is more important for you, your job or your health.

If your job is deteriorating your health, then start looking for a way out. This may require you to look for another job or to go back to school to get training for something you might like to do. Just take action and start changing your life.

Improve Immune System

Improving your immune system is accomplished through diet, through taking nutritional supplements, by reducing stress, and eliminating those conditions that overwork you body.

The fewer things your immune system has to react to and get under control, the stronger it is to take care of an asthma attack when it occurs. When your immune system has to deal with toxins in your colon and throughout your body, then it is weakened and not able to neutralize pollen or pollution you inhale from the air which can trigger an asthma attack.

Use drugs when you first discover you have asthma can make sense. But, if your asthma is light, then finding asthma natural remedies to control it, instead of using drugs, also makes a lot of sense.