Management of Asthma
What is Asthma?
Have you ever seen someone who is having an asthma attack? It can be quite scary! It usually sounds like the person is wheezing (a squeaky noise) and having trouble breathing. The wheezing is caused by the narrowing of the bronchial tubes (airways to the lungs) caused by thick mucus, swelling, or spasms (sounds lovely doesn't it?). Management of an asthma attack can be tricky and is unique to each individual. There are many reasons for the cause of an asthma attack:
* allergic reaction to something that has been inhaled or eaten
* Noxious orders such as perfume, tobacco smoke, or cleaning products
* Infections - Chronic bronchitis sufferers are prone to asthma attacks (I speak from personal experience)
* Exercise induced asthma
* Extremes in temperature or humidity
* Emotional stress
Asthma Treatment Recommendations (Prescription)
Preventing or controlling an asthma attack
There are many medications and treatments that prevent or effectively manage asthma. The following drugs can only be obtained through prescription:
** Sympathomimetics - Drugs that mimic the effects of the sympathetic nervous system such as albuterol (ventolin, proventil) which dilate or open up the bronchial tubes
** Combination of inhaled drugs - Such as Advair Diskus, a powerful combination of salmeterol, which is a bronchodilator, and fluticasone propionate, an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid which reduces the swelling caused by inflammation.
** Prednisone is a potent steroid and anti-inflammatory which is sometimes prescribed to asthmatics who are having a severe asthma attack or have hard to control asthma. Predisone is usually prescribed for short periods of time because of the potential for severe side effects. However, in a severe asthma attack the benefits far outweigh the risks.
Natural Remedies to Prevent Asthma Attacks
What to Eat to Help Prevent Attacks
As you probably know, it's important to avoid foods that might trigger an asthma attack. For instance if you are allergic to nuts or wheat then of course you should avoid products that contain nuts or wheat.
However, there are some foods that you can eat that will help prevent attacks:
* Chili peppers - Natives in South America and Mexico have been eating chili peppers for years to relieve pain and decrease lung congestion. Really hot chilies (if consumed regularly) will reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks.
An alternative would be drinking a glass of water containing 10-20 drops of Tobasco sauce. This same drink also relieves the symptoms of chronic bronchitis and the common cold. Chili peppers are even more effective if you eat lots of fresh garlic and onions. Scientists have discovered that the active ingredient in chilies is capsaicin which is a topical anesthetic.
* Coffee - Real coffee, not the decaf kind, is very beneficial to asthmatics. Before modern antiasthmatic medications, coffee was the treatment of choice for asthma. The active ingredient in coffee is methylxanthine which dilates the bronchial passages and relaxes the muscles.
*Omega-3 fatty acids - Present in cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, haddock, and mackerel. Fish oil capsules are another alternative.
Asthma is due to a combination of immune system malfunction and inflammation in the bronchial passages. Omega-3 fatty acids affect the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes which are mediators of the immune system.
Vitamin D: We hear a lot of medical news about vitamin D deficiency in people who aren't exposed to enough sunlight. Many studies also associate vitamin D deficiency with asthma. It seems that asthma treatments work better in those people not deficient in vitamin D. So when you have a routine blood screen, make sure you are also checked for a possible vitamin D deficiency.
Doterra Drops for Asthma
Just recently I discovered Doterra Breathe Respiratory drops. They consist of several essential oils that work well in combination: Lemon, Peppermint, Cardamom, Eucalyptus, Thyme, and Melissa essential oils.
I have been taking them about 3 times a day during allergy season when I'm starting to feel a little wheezy and short of breath. They are very soothing to the back of the throat and respiratory track in general. Plus they taste good because of a little cane juice and brown rice syrup.
I am using my emergency inhaler less during the day so I'm very grateful to have a natural alternative that does not have damaging side effects.
Doterra Respiratory Drops - My favorite Remedy
Essential Oils for Asthma Symptoms
Within the last few months I have started to use essential oils and products for my asthma symptoms. I was skeptical at first because I have tried every inhaler and prescription asthma remedy known to man. How could simple oils or lozenges make a difference in my breathing?
I have talked to an acupuncturist and a massage therapist specializing in essential oils and they both recommended certain oils and products for asthma symptom relief.
Lavender is an antispasmodic which is great for asthma sufferers due to the relaxation of the bronchial tubes so breathing is easier. Also, lavender is anti-inflammatory which helps to relax the airway and reducing swelling.
Yesterday I was having some ongoing asthma related to allergies. I dotted some lavender essential oil on my throat and chest and felt some immediate relief. My breathing slowed and was less wheezy, and lavender is calming so I was less anxious. Before, I would just reach for an emergency inhaler so it is refreshing to have other natural options that work.
Aura Cacia is the brand of lavender oil that I buy. It is not that expensive and works great.
Peppermint suppresses histamine release and reduces allergic reactions which leads to asthma in some people.. Peppermint also acts as an expectorant and decongestant. Rubbing a little oil on the chest will help with allergy symptoms and chest cold relief.
Eucalyptus is another essential oil that helps relieve asthma symptoms. Massaging a few drops on the chest will help calm the respiratory system and dilate the blood vessels which enables more oxygen to enter the lungs.
Lavender Essential Oil
Do You Have Allergic Asthma
There are millions of folks in the US that have asthma (about 20 million). About half of those people have allergic asthma. Allergic asthma occurs when someone is exposed to an allergen like pollen, dust, mold, pet dander, or grass.
During the attack the symptoms are coughing, sneezing, rapid breathing, and tightness in the chest resulting in wheezing. This happens because the body detects an allergen and produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E or IgE. It sounds like a good thing, however, too much IgE inflames and tightens the airways making it hard to breathe. What happens next? Sneezing, coughing, tightness and difficulty breathing.
How do you know if you have allergic asthma?
A doctor or other healthcare provider can use a skin test or blood test to determine if your asthma is triggered by allergens. I had a skin test and found out that my allergies were mostly seasonal. The tests can be very specific. I found out that I'm allergic to tree pollen (oak, pine etc.) It's good to know what to stay away from.
N95 anti bacterial mask (looks like a surgical mask) - A solution for sneezing and asthma
These masks are heavy duty and filter out 95% of airborne particles. They are great for doing yard work, wearing on an airplane, or in dusty areas. I wear them when working with my horse because it filters out the dust and horse dander.