What is Asthma?
Asthma is a disorder of the lungs obstructing the breathing process. The condition is caused by inflammation of the air passages, which narrows down or tightens them. As a result, free flow of air in to the lungs is impeded, making the breathing difficult. The sufferer feels suffocated. Asthma is not restricted to a particular age group or gender. Anyone can become asthmatic at any age. Asthma in children has also become quite common. In females it is found proportionately much less. Asthma is neither a psychological condition nor contagious.
Symptoms of asthma are quite variable and not the same for everyone. Main indications are as follows:
- Suffocation. One feels breathless. In severe cases the sufferer feels as if the breathing would stop any moment.
- At times inspiration is impeded while at another, expiration is impeded. Generally one of these conditions is found at a time.
- Wheezing (sort of whistling sound), which may be audible even without a stethoscope and may occur during inspiration or expiration. At times there may be no wheezing at all but the chest might still feel constricted.
- Tightness of chest as if full of something or as if tied up externally by something with the feeling that chest cannot be expanded.
- These conditions may be accompanied by cough, which may be dry or with rattling sound of mucus.
Severity of the symptoms does not necessarily depend on how old is the case. It depends on cause and several other factors. If the cause of asthma continues to persist, asthmatic condition would continue to aggravate with the passage of time. Getting out of breath with very little physical exertion may not necessarily indicate asthmatic condition. It could be due to other reasons calling for proper investigations.
Causes of Asthma
Asthma has many causes, which are different to triggers. Common causes but not limited to are:
- Allergies are one of the main causes of asthma. Allergy can frequently cause running nose and cough that may gradually develop in to asthma.
- Respiratory infections causing cough and increased production of mucus. In this condition, there is no running nose or sneezing but the chest is felt congested.
- Genetic factors causing asthma to run in the families.
- Lifestyle: Over use of modern facilities like air-conditioning and carpeting everywhere with negligible exposure to natural environments can lead to asthma. Such environments may especially increase the incidents of asthma in children.
- Dietary habits: Over use of processed foods and cold drinks, lower antioxidant intake with lack of exercise may contribute to the development of asthma.
- Smoking can lead to asthma.
- Continued indigestion: Persistent digestive disorder can cause asthma.
- Occupational exposure: Exposure to certain chemicals, gases and dust in certain occupations may cause asthma with passage of time.
- A particular weather condition may cause respiratory problems in certain individuals.
There might be other causes in particular cases, which must be investigated so that the treatment and diet can be advised accordingly.
Triggers are not the causes of asthma. As the name implies, they trigger or start an attack or may worsen the already going on attack and differ from person to person. Such triggers may include exposure to cold, physical exertion, lying down at night, especially after mid-night, talking for a longer time, inhaling smoke particularly of cigarette, strong odors, dust, cold drinks, indigestion, cold bathing, weather changes, continued dry and cold weather, hot weather and humidity. Asthma can also be triggered by emotional disturbance and mental stress. This list is not exhaustive and complete. There might be many other factors that may start or worsen the attack and might be very individual and specific in nature. Treatment of asthma should be planned keeping such factors in view but the treatment should be for the cause not for the trigger.
Asthma Types, Categories
There are different types of asthma. At one time, asthma was divided in following two categories:
– Extrinsic (allergic) asthma
– Intrinsic asthma (non-allergic) asthma, but that was a very broad categorization.
Now the categories have been revised as follows:
– Extrinsic (allergic) asthma
– Intrinsic asthma (non-allergic) asthma
– Cough-variant asthma
– Steroid-resistant asthma
– Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis
– Asthma triad
and perhaps more.
Asthma may also be categorized according to its characteristics as:
– Humid asthma
– Dry asthma and
– Congestive asthma
The nature of expectoration of mucus may be:
– Free, fluent and abundant
– Almost checked or very little
– Thick and intermittent. At times the expectoration may be thick or hard in shape of small balls.
Similarly there could be other ways of categorizing the asthma but what is more important is how the physician of a particular healing system understands it and whether he has the skill and means to treat it successfully.
Prevention of Asthma
Asthma is a condition that may not be possible to prevent completely but to a great extent one can reduce the suffering and misery associated with it. Following points may be worth consideration.
- You have to find out what triggers your asthma. As far as possible, avoid the condition that triggers it.
- Avoid food items, which create mucus in excess. The diet must be changed according to the type of asthma. Remember that diet precautions are not the same for all types of asthma.
- If you catch cold and have running nose, do not try to stop the flow too rapidly.
- If you have an allergy that causes irritation of respiratory system, have it treated properly. Do not postpone till tomorrow.
- If you live in cold climate, try to keep your body warm as far as possible.
- If the cause is climatic, see if you can change over to a suitable climate. Most of the times and for most of the people, it may not be possible at all to migrate and live in a different climate but it is a factor that can be considered.
Homeopathic Treatment for Asthma
Modern medical system has good palliative treatment but nothing for permanent cure of asthma whereas homeopathy has number of medicines that can treat various conditions of asthma according to modalities and cure it permanently if treatment is planned keeping all the modalities in view. In homeopathy, factors and conditions that aggravate or give relief are called modalities, which vary from individual to individual. This precision makes cure of asthma much easier and mostly successful with lasting cure. Asthma in children can also be cured as successfully.