Asthma can be a serious and often frightening condition that is typified by a tightening of the chest, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Asthma is made up of two underlying components: Inflammation and Constriction. During normal breathing, the bands of muscles that surround the airways are relaxed, and air moves freely. However, in people with asthma, the bands of muscle surrounding the airways tighten and air cannot move freely. In addition, individuals with asthma often have airways that are inflamed, irritated and swollen. This can make it hard for them to breathe. This irritation can also cause the mucus membrane that lines these tissues to produce excessive mucus, which can further reduce the flow of air into the lungs.
The airways of people with asthma are extremely sensitive and tend to overreact and narrow due to even the slightest trigger. These can include:
- Emotional upsets and stress,
- Upper respiratory tract infections,
- Breathing cold air
- Even exercising too hard.
Airborne allergens, such as bee pollen, animal dander, dust mold and smoke can also trigger an attack, as can certain foods or medications.
Asthma attacks can be both mild and severe. The severity of an attack, however, can escalate rapidly, so it is important to treat these symptoms immediately once you recognize them. In any case, it is important to work with your primary health care provider when you look to treat this health concern. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to help reduce the severity or eliminate asthma from your life.
Recommendations for Wellness
To help control an attack:
Sit leaning forward or in a semi-prone position to help restore normal breathing.
Try placing a hot, moist towel over your chest to help relax your chest muscles and restore normal breathing.
To help reduce your chances of another attack:
Incorporate breathing exercises into your daily routine to help strengthen your respiratory muscles.
Keep a health diary. Use it to help you figure out what is triggering your attacks, then reduce your exposure to them or eliminate those things from your life.
Make a special effort to keep your environment allergen free.
Get an air purifier.
Dust and vacuum often.
Change your home furnace or air conditioner filter regular.
Stop exercising if you start wheezing or feel an attack coming on.
Drink plenty of water to help thin any mucus build-up in the lungs.
Eliminate or reduce mucus-forming foods such as milk products, products made with white flower and refined foods.
Herbs such as mullein, licorice root, marshmallow root or slippery elm could be taken to soothe irritated tissues.
Fenugreek and thyme might help to open the chest as it loosens & stimulates the gentle removal of mucus and phlegm.
Incorporate a homeopathic Asthma formula to help with shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, tightness of the chest and wheezing.
© Copyright Body, Mind & SoulHealer 2004. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission. Note: If you plan to take any remedy whether natural, herbal or synthetic we recommend you take the advice of a reputable professional with appropriate qualifications, on how and when to take the remedies.
By Dr. Rita Louise
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