Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes (airways) that causes swelling and narrowing (constriction) of the airways. The result is difficulty breathing. The bronchial narrowing is usually either totally or at least partially reversible with treatments.
Symptoms of Asthma
Asthma symptoms vary from person to person.They may have infrequent asthma attacks, have symptoms only at certain times — such as when exercising — or have symptoms all the time.
Asthma signs and symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or pain
- Wheezing when exhaling, which is a common sign of asthma in children
- Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
- Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
Signs that Asthma is probably worsening include :
- Asthma signs and symptoms that are more frequent and bothersome
- Increasing difficulty breathing, as measured with a device used to check how well our lungs are working (peak flow meter)
- The need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often
For some people, asthma signs and symptoms flare up in certain situations:
- Exercise-induced asthma, which may be worse when the air is cold and dry
- Occupational asthma, triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gases or dust
- Allergy-induced asthma, triggered by airborne substances, such as pollen, mold spores, cockroach waste, or particles of skin and dried saliva shed by pets (pet dander)
Causes of Asthma
Actual cause of Asthma is unknown but it's probably due to a combination of environmental and inherited (genetic) factors.
Exposure to various irritants and substances that trigger allergies (allergens) can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Asthma triggers are different from person to person and can include:
- Airborne allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander or particles of cockroach waste
- Respiratory infections, such as the common cold
- Physical activity
- Cold air
- Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
- Certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- Strong emotions and stress
- Sulfites and preservatives added to some types of foods and beverages, including shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, beer and wine
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a condition in which stomach acids back up into your throat
Risk factors of Asthma
A number of factors are thought to increase the chances of developing asthma. They include:
- Having a blood relative with asthma, such as a parent or sibling
- Having another allergic condition, such as atopic dermatitis — which causes red, itchy skin — or hay fever — which causes runny nose, congestion and itchy eyes
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
- Exposure to exhaust fumes or other types of pollution
- Exposure to occupational triggers, such as chemicals used in farming, hairdressing and manufacturing
Complications of Asthma
Asthma complications include:
- Signs and symptoms that interfere with sleep, work and other activities
- Sick days from work or school during asthma flare-ups
- A permanent narrowing of the tubes that carry air to and from our lungs (bronchial tubes), which affects how well we can breathe
- Emergency room visits and hospitalizations for severe asthma attacks
- Side effects from long-term use of some medications used to stabilize severe asthma
Proper treatment makes a big difference in preventing both short-term and long-term complications caused by asthma.
Prolonged attacks of asthma that do not respond to treatment with bronchodilators are a medical emergency. Physicians call these severe attacks "status asthmaticus," and they require immediate emergency care.
The symptoms of severe asthma are persistent coughing and the inability to speak full sentences or walk without shortness of breath.Chest may feel closed, and our lips may have a bluish tint.Also there is feeling of agitation, confusion, or an inability to concentrate.These are signs of an impending respiratory system failure.
Diagnosis of Asthma
Pulmonary function test
- Challenge test
- Exhaled Nitric oxide test
- Complete Blood count
- Chest and Sinus X-rays
- CT scan
- GERD assessment test
Homeopathic Treatment of Asthma
Arsenic Album -: Most useful medicine for suffocative cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Given in that cases of Asthma that gets worse around midnight.Most recommended when asthma alternates with skin rash or eczema.
Spongia Tosta -: Useful for asthma with a dry cough which is deep, barking, hacking type. There is extreme dryness of all the air passages.Helpful when dry cough is associated with whistling sound from the chest on inspiration.Given when warm drinks bring relief from the cough.
Antimonium Tartaricum –: Excellent remedy for asthma with an excessive, rattling cough.Useful for loose, rattling cough with feeling of full of mucus in lung.There is Mucus from the lungs is raised with much difficulty. Useful rapid and difficult respiration.There is excessive suffocation is which worsens on lying down, with a need to sit up.
Ipecac : Useful when there is excessive cough with mucus rales in the chest.Most helpful when the cough is accompanied by suffocation, shortness of breath and gasping for air.Recommended when child may become blue and stiff during the asthma attack.
Sambucus Nigra -: Very useful medicine for night asthma episodes in children. Given when child wakes up suddenly at night, with cough and suffocation.
Blatta Orientalis and Bromium -: Given when asthma get triggered by exposure to dust. Useful for a cough with difficult respiration and pus-like mucus.
Bromium -: Useful when there is cough with the rattling of mucus.There is suffocation and difficulty in breathing after exposure to dust.
Lobelia Inflata -: Very useful medicine for vasthma for smokers.There is difficult,short respiration with cough.There is oppressed feeling in the chest with lump sensation in throat.Also useful for burning in throat.