Asthma is a respiratory condition marked by contractions in the bronchi (passage way to the lungs) causing difficulty in breathing. Asthma is usually associated with wheezing sounds, tightness in the chest and coughing. Common causes include allergies or a hypersensitivity of some kind. Severity can vary from mild occasional discomfort to a severe need for medications and other aid. In most cases, there is no known cure for asthma. However, with a holistic treatment plan, asthma symptoms can easily be managed.
Common triggers and allergens:
If you have mild to moderate asthma, the best thing to do is identify your cause of allergy and try to avoid it. Common allergens and triggers are:
- Pollution such as smoke and molds
- Pet dander
- Medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- Strong smells
- Extreme weather conditions (too cold, too humid, etc)
- Some foods
The Treatment for Asthma:
In most cases, except the most severe, the goal of asthma treatment is to prevent symptoms, avoid morbidity from acute symptoms and prevent psychological and functional effects on life.
Integrated medicine practitioners, like Syncremedies, can help by providing a more comprehensive multifaceted solution. They can use Ayurveda, homeopathy and other modalities of treatment to reduce or eliminate symptoms in the long term.
Medications for Asthma:
Medications for the treatment of Asthma are usually dispensed in the form of tablets, injections or inhalers.
Inhaler and injections are fast acting. Inhalers dispense medications almost directly where it is needed to take effect, whereas Injections are usually used by medical personnel for fast acting control. Tablets are relatively slow acting and best for daily long term management.
Quick relief or rescue medications:
Short acting beta agonists and anticholinergic are to quickly relax and open airways when the symptoms have already started occurring. Usually in inhaler form, their purpose is to quickly give relief. They do not take the place of controller medicines. While they help feel better immediately, they do not help with the inflammation of the airways that causes the symptom. If you feel the need to use them more than twice a week, your asthma is not controlled and you need to see your doctor or an allergist.
Theophylline is usually used for night time attacks.
Long term Medications:
These may be controller medications (inhalers) or oral.
Inhalers: such as Corticosteroids (controller medications) are usually used daily to avoid the occurrence of symptoms. Do not use Corticosteroids without a prescription. They reduce the body’s reaction to allergens and change metabolism with long term consumption. Corticosteroids have been a very useful, lifesaving drug to control long term symptoms in severe asthmatics. They work by reducing swelling as well as mucus production.
Oral medications: such as leukotriene modifiers.
Maybe in the form of an injection or sublingual (under tongue) tablets.
These work by improving the body’s resistance to the allergen. Small amounts of the identified allergens are introduced in the body slowly over time. It helps the body build immunity and respond less aggressively to the offending allergen. However, these are not advised for patients with severe asthma.
The following non medication methods help with reducing the severity and number of Asthma attacks – quitting smoking, practising Pranayama and losing excess weight.
Dos and Don’ts:
Other recommended therapies for asthma include the following:
- Elimination of animal meat as well as processed foods from the diet
- Eat ginger and turmeric regularly
- Use of traditional Chinese medicines
- Rolfing, a form of deep tissue massage believed to break up congestion in the lung
- Increasing water intake by 30%
- Avoid inhaling cold air. If it is cold outside, breathe through a scarf.
- Elimination of poly unsaturated fatty acids from the diet. They are present in items such as butter, margarine, shortening, some vegetable oils, etc.
- Avoid known irritants like smoke and dust
- Avoid compounds such as nitrates and sulphites present in hot dogs, cheeses, wines, bacon and beer and other processed meats and alcohols
- Increase intake of foods and supplements with antioxidants such as berries, cherries,
- Supplementation with omega 3
- Consumption of Reishi mushroom
- Ayurveda treatments such as panchakarma
Home remedies for Asthma:
Few home remedies known to help during an acute attack:
- Placing a warm hot pack on the chest as well as shoulders
- A spoonful of mustard oil mixed with jaggery
- Multiple small sips of hot water or hot plain milk
- Immersing hands and feet in warm water (upto the elbows/knees)
- Consuming 7-10 ml of the juice of of the Solanum surattense plant
- Consumption of long pepper with honey
Yoga for Asthma:
The following Yoga poses help with asthma and lung strengthening:
- Surya namaskar
Practise such as Naadi Shodhan and Kapaala Bhaati also aid with managing asthma.
Other Asthma treatment options:
There are other remedies and claims to cure asthma. However, try them carefully and with caution – using your own judgement to care for you body. Watch and listen to your body. Figure out what helps you, but always keep a short acting relief medicine close to you and keep track of your asthma.
At Syncremedies, meet with 3 doctors from Allopathy, Ayurveda & Homoepathy TOGETHER to offer the most effective solution for your asthma. While modern medicine will facilitate in immediate control of your symptoms, traditional medicine will aid in treating your asthma from its root in the long run.
Each consult lasts a duration of 40 minutes with a treatment plan that encapsulates diet, exercise, therapy as well as medication essential to control and treat the health condition.
You can meet the doctors online through a video consult at the convenience of your home or visit a clinic near you.
Article by Dr Archana Naidu-Komandur (BDS, DDS, PG, FAGD)