Asthma is an obstructive pulmonary disease, it is characterized by inflammation of the airway, which is chronic in nature, which leads to tightness of chest, wheezing sound, and difficulty in breathing, this condition is due to obstruction of airflow which may be present for a long time or short time, and is reversed by the treatment. Asthma is an episodic disease, with acute exacerbations with symptom-free periods, most attacks are of asthma are of shorter duration, and many times patients recover after an attack.
There may be a phase in which the patient experience some airway obstruction daily, this phase of asthma can be mild with or without the severe episode, or more serious with severe airway obstruction which may persist for many days or weeks, this is termed as status asthmatics and it is an emergency.
Bronchial asthma occurs at any age but mostly in early life,50% of cases develop before the age of 10 years and rest before the age of 40. Many patients did not have a history of allergy in them or in their family, their skin tests are also negative, with normal IgE levels, these patients are suffering from nonatopic or idiosyncratic asthma.
Atopy is the largest factor alone for the development of asthma.
Causes of asthma:
- Exposure to allergens is an important factor that increases the risk of it.
- Homes in which there is humidity, warmth and which are centrally heated this helps in multiplication of house dust mites, which leads to this disease in childhood.
- Allergic asthma is seasonal, most commonly found in young adults and children, often associated with personal or family history of eczema, rhinitis, urticaria.
- Nonseasonal form of asthma results from allergy, like maybe from danders of animals, molds, dust mites, feathers.
- It develops in industrial and very populated areas.
- Various types of occupations lead to occupational asthma, like
- Those who work where there is the presence of animal and insect dust, like where there are moths, flys, laboratory animals, chickens, etc.
- Those who work where there is the use of Industrial chemicals and plastics.
- Where there is the presence of vegetables and wood dust.
- Paint and varnish making factories
- Where laundry detergent is used.
- Respiratory infections.
- Excercise precipitates acute episodes of this disease.
- Emotional stress.
- Some medicines like Beta-blockers, aspirin.
Factors which helps to prevent asthma:
- Children who grow up in farms are many times found protective against it.
- Antioxidants protect against it.
Symptoms of asthma:
- Wheezing sound.
- The tightness of the chest.
- Difficulty in breathing (Dyspnoea).
- Cough with sputum (productive cough) but absent in cough variant asthma.
Asthma displays a characteristic diurnal pattern, in which symptoms are more worst in the morning. When asthma is not properly controlled, sleep is disturbed by cough and wheezing sound and it is termed as nocturnal asthma. In cough variant asthma, cough (dry) is the main symptom, and often there is a lack of wheeze or difficulty in breathing.
Investigations for asthma:
- Pulmonary function tests
- Chest X-ray.
- Allergy test: In asthmatic patients, there is an increase in eosinophils counts in peripheral blood and sputum is a cardinal feature. In atopic asthma total serum IgE is found increased.
- Removal of offending agents, this helps in controlling occupational asthma.
- Homeopathic medicines treat to help to manage the symptoms of this disease and help to avoid its relapses, without any side effects. Homeopathic medicines are safe even if taken with another system of medicines
- Patients must avoid dust, fog and must take care in cold weather.
- Patients must avoid pets and avoid the place where dusting is undergoing as a part of home cleanliness.
- Avoid smoking.
The mortality rate is small, information on the symptoms helps in a good prognosis (forecast of course of the disease) mainly in those in which disease is mild and developed in childhood.
Some natural ways to tackle asthma:
- Add fruits and vegetables in your diet as they are a good source of antioxidants.
- Vitamin A rich food like eggs, butter, liver, fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and cod, full-fat dairy products, sweet potato, egg yolk, red pepper, spinach, beef liver, sweet potato, carrots, apricots, cantaloupe, mango, etc.
- Vitamin D rich food like Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon, cheese, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals, etc.
- Magnesium-rich food like black beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans, green leafy vegetables.
- Beta carotene-rich vegetable.
- Sulfite containing products must be avoided in asthma, like wine and dried fruits, bottled lemon juice, etc.
- Garlic and Ginger help to relieve inflammation, ginger mix tea is also beneficial.
- Justicia and grindelia robusta and Ginko Biloba extract.
- Turmeric and red clover.
- Fish and flax seeds which are rich in omega 3 helps to reduce inflammation of lungs.
- The component of tea and caffeine is similar to theophylline and thus helps in asthmatics.
- Yoga and breathing exercises.