Asthma is a lung disease that is marked by reversible narrowing of the airways that causes difficulty in breathing. Asthma is a chronic disease but can manifest as acute attacks.
Asthma attacks occur when there is an obstruction in the flow of air in the lungs. The obstruction is due to the inflammation and constriction of the airways that hinder the regular movement of air in the lungs.
Although to date there is no known cause of this disease, it can be triggered by various irritants. The irritants cause a flare-up of the symptoms. An aggravated case can bring on a sudden asthma attack. Asthma attacks can be fatal if not taken care of at the right time.
Although asthma is incurable, you can curtail the incidence of flare-ups by preventive measures and lifestyle and dietary changes.
An asthma flare-up can be a result of various factors, which can be an allergen or any other agent that can either worsen or cause the symptoms to be manifested in the suffering individual. Some of the asthma triggers include:
The constriction of the airways can be caused by inflammation and swelling in the air passages. Although airway constriction can be manifested by the following symptoms, it is not restricted entirely to these:
Your doctor will investigate the symptoms and any known triggers that may play a role in worsening your condition.
Aside from the hallmark symptoms of asthma, your doctor is likely to check your lung function by using a spirometer to determine the flow of air in your lungs.
Medications to treat asthma can be aimed at providing quick relief or controlling the condition in the long term. Also, immunotherapy is advised to prevent a flare-up of allergies that can trigger an asthma attack. The treatment method and drug dosages may differ between adults (age 17 and above) and children (ages 5 to 16).
The medications for asthma fall in the category of bronchodilators. These are administered in the form of an inhaler, nebulizer, and pills. The inhaler is a pump that can be used as an immediate rescue in the event of an attack as it lets the bronchodilator enter your lungs through the oral route as you inhale.
The mode of action is expanding the narrowed airways of the lungs to smoothen the flow of air and facilitate easy breathing. In addition, bronchodilators play a role in clearing away mucus and allowing its free movement, preventing obstruction that may be a hindrance in breathing.
Aside from being medically treated by an expert, you can implement some lifestyle and dietary changes in your routine to cope with the symptoms and pare down the incidence of asthma attacks.
Stress can trigger an asthma attack and worsen existent symptoms. Keep tabs on your stress levels by doing meditation, deep breathing, and mind-body exercises or engaging yourself in a hobby. Being emotionally well can help keep your health in good shape.
Vitamin D is an anti-inflammatory, and researchers have hypothesized that it may help relieve the symptoms of asthma. Also, it may reduce the chances of getting asthma in early childhood, and asthmatic individuals with an adequate amount of vitamin D may decrease their chances of having frequent asthma attacks.
You cannot entirely rely on food sources to fulfill your daily vitamin D requirements. A natural way to help in the synthesis of vitamin D is daily sun exposure. Also, you can consider vitamin D supplements after a doctor’s consultation.
Incorporating physical activity in your routine can help reduce the severity of asthma. Aerobic exercises can help strengthen the muscles of your lungs and heart.
Refrain from consuming certain foods that can trigger an asthma attack:
Incorporate your diet with:
Ginger is a well-known natural treatment for various ailments including asthma. Researchers have found that it can help reduce airway inflammation and inhibit airway contraction.
A study corroborated the role of ginger extracts in successfully alleviating allergic reactions by inhibiting the release of IgE antibodies, which are associated with an inflammation reaction. Ginger extracts successfully reduced the inflammation of the airways and the secretion of the mucus, among many other effects.
Plus, studies indicate that ginger contains compounds that may enhance the muscle relaxant effects of certain asthma drugs.
Turmeric contains a bioactive compound called curcumin. Curcumin can help curtail inflammation, oxidization, and free radical damage. It has been reported that curcumin can help curb the inflammation in the airways of mice; pretreating the inflammatory cells of the lung tissue with curcumin showed significant improvement.
Garlic is a rich source of vitamin C and potassium. Vitamin C plays a crucial role as an antioxidant, fighting inflammation in the airways.
Garlic also aids in the formation of biomolecules called prostacyclins, which can help clear the air passages of the affected individual and help him breathe normally.
The following garlic remedy can help clear the congestion in your lungs during the early stages of asthma.
The caffeine in regular coffee can help control asthma attacks because it acts as a bronchodilator and can help avert the symptoms of the disease.
Hot coffee helps relax and clear the airways to help you to breathe easily. The stronger the coffee, the better the result.
Fish oil contains an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, namely, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Fish oil can give you a steady supply of these fatty acids necessary to stave off inflammation and, in turn, an asthma flare-up.
A study corroborated that fish oil, when taken by pregnant women in the third trimester, was related to a reduced incidence of their children being diagnosed with asthma in childhood and adulthood.
Keeping in mind the positive impact of fish oil on mild, moderate, and severe cases of asthma, its supplementation has a relevance that concerns public health.
Honey is one of the oldest natural cures for asthma. The alcohol and ethereal oils in honey help resolve the symptoms of asthma and stop an asthma attack in its tracks.
The consumption of honey to treat cough and colds is long known. A study demonstrated that the inhalation of honey reduces inflammation in the passageways of the lungs. Inhalation ensures the deposition of honey in the airways, treating the excess mucus buildup and goblet cell hyperplasia.
People with asthma often have low levels of vitamin C. Lemons are rich in this vitamin and antioxidants that can help reduce asthma symptoms. It has been reported that lemons contain flavanone glycosides, eriocitrin, and hesperidin, which are potent antiallergic compounds that can help stave off an allergic response.
Carom seeds, also known as bishop’s weed, can also be used to treat mild asthma as it acts as a bronchodilator by dilating the bronchial tubes in the lungs.
Carom seeds can help relieve chest congestion and breathing problems related to asthma.
The nutritional properties of figs promote respiratory health, help drain phlegm, and alleviate breathing difficulties.
Continue this home treatment for a couple of months.
Pure eucalyptus oil is an effective treatment for asthma symptoms because of its decongestant properties.
Research indicates that eucalyptus contains a chemical called eucalyptol, which can help break up mucus, promotes immune response, and provides relaxing and anti-inflammatory effects on respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, asthma, and sinusitis.
The following remedies are neither backed by scientific evidence nor are they reviewed by our health experts. Nonetheless, a number of general users have reported an improvement in their condition using these anecdotal remedies.
Apple cider vinegar has been used since ages to treat the chronic cough and hoarseness associated with asthma.
The vitamin C content, antioxidants, and phenolic compounds in kiwi can help improve asthma symptoms.
The Buteyko technique is a breathing technique that is similar to the yogic pranayama.
Perform this breathing exercise three to four times every day. The aim should be to extend your holding time with every session of the exercise.
Although asthma is incurable, you can prevent an impending asthma attack by following certain measures, including the following:
Certain factors can increase the likelihood of getting asthma in certain individuals. Such factors include:
Gender: During childhood, asthma is more common in boys, while among adults and teenagers, it is commonly present in women. Studies indicate that as women progress in age and reach menopause, the incidence of asthma decreases except in those undergoing postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy.
Genetics: Individuals with a family history of allergies, asthma, hay fever, or eczema have a chance of getting the disease.
Occupational Hazards: People who inhale chemical fumes, gases, or dust at work such as while welding, spraying, and mining are prone to developing asthma.
Obesity: Obesity can increase the risk of asthma by about 50%. The high-fat diet consumed by obese people can bring about inflammation and metabolic disorders that can result in a lung volume less than normal.
Ethnicity: Puerto Ricans and African-Americans are at a higher risk of contracting asthma.
Alcohol: Although alcohol is a mild bronchodilator, asthma may be triggered by the sulfites or acetaldehyde present in it.
In rare cases, asthma can lead to a number of serious respiratory complications, including:
The symptoms of asthma are similar to other diseases of the lungs such as a chest infection. It is necessary to visit a doctor and get your condition diagnosed on time.
Asthma is a chronic lung disease with no permanent cure. However, you can manage your condition with medications and natural strategies. Although medications provide quick relief, they are usually associated with side effects.
Adopting a holistic approach, which includes taking the prescribed medications, incorporating changes in the diet, and practicing a lifestyle aimed at prevention, can greatly reduce the severity of asthma and prevent its complications.
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