Top 10 Simple Methods to Help Ease Asthma

Asthma symptoms cause shortness of breath, chest tightness, congestion, wheezing, and difficulty in breathing. This lung disease affects over 25 million Americans. There are many reasons like stress, dust, mold, pollen, and change of weather that can directly aggravate this condition; thus, leading to asthma attacks. Sometimes, it is genetic.

For asthma patients, Pranayam (breathing exercise) Anulom vilom is essential. This breathing exercise may cure 70% of your asthma. This yoga Kriya clears the air passages, strengthens the lungs so that lungs can pump in more oxygen, and hold air in. This allows the patient to breathe easily. This is a safe and stress reducing process. First couple of months, when you start this yoga Kriya, it will be a little uncomfortable because you already have a breathing problem. But once you get used to Pranayam, the breath will move freely through the body, providing adequate nourishment to the cells, organs, tissues and glands. This helps reduce chest pain and relieves you of congestion. Sometimes, when you are sick and can not sit on the floor or on a chair, you may still practice Pranayam slowly while resting straight on your back, and it really helps.

Practice yoga postures slowly six days a week. Whiche postures you can easily do. This will help release mental stress and body tension. This also helps strengthen the body and mind power. Your body may produce more energy to fight and face your daily physical challenges.

1. Grind horseradish and refrigerate it. Mix a teaspoonful of it with one teaspoonful of honey, and swallow with warm water daily 30 minutes before lunch.

2. Keep a piece of clove in your mouth to sooth the throat. It helps mucus move easily.

3. Consume hot soups daily to soothe your throat and cleanse digestive system.

4. To treat asthma, swallow a crushed garlic clove in the am and pm with warm water.

5. Use a humidifier in the house to moisturize the environment. It helps calm wheezing.

6. Boil a useful of eucalyptus leaves in an uncoated pot and inhale the steam. This may prove to be calming and soothing and it helps to ease your breath.

7. For asthma patients, exercise and walking with short intervals of rest, is essential. Yoga Shavasan (dead body posture), is highly recommended to relax your mind and body completely after any exercising and / or walking.

8. Consume the juice of one lemon, a teaspoon of honey, and a cup of warm water to calm asthma attack. You may repeat it as needed. If diabetic, then avoid honey and use a little jaggery.

9. Boil crushed ginger (about two-inches) and a piece of licorice in three cups of water. Drink half a cup of this hot tea tea with a little honey or artificial sweetener if necessary. This helps calm asthma and moves the mucus.

10. Dissolve 2×3 “of jaggery in a quart of water and drink all day. This helps cleanse the throat.

Meditation for five minutes every day helps us to feel oneness with The Source from where we all come from, to play our role on this temporary stage (the world). Believe in miracles, and miracles do happen. When we meditate in solitude, we disassociate ourselves from the outside materialistic world. Focus on your breath as you repeat, “I am a peaceful soul and I am not this body”, and try to associate with “the source”. Once you perceive you are an immortal soul, you may awaken your awareness and find abundance.

In asthma, practicing Bhastrika and Sitali breathing exercises for one minute everyday is useful to help our body produce more energy. It may a little difficult to take a deep breath, hold, and then release. If you can, take short breaths. Keep inhaling and exhaling vigorously, because practicing breathing exercises every day helps in clearing the air passage and it strengthens the lungs for pumping in more air. Your lungs may start retaining air for a couple seconds more. When we breathe deeply, the air dives deep down in the body, and energizes the dying cells; thus, making us healthy and energetic.

In asthma, Kapalbhati (breathing exercise) for five minutes really helps. Focus on exhaling rapidly and continuously. Take one breath per second, with a little force by contracting the abdominal muscles, and you may feel a little push in your lower back. Once you learn, then increase this to ten minutes. Be patient and slow. Give it some time, and your efforts will bring you great rewards.

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Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Nebulizer Compressor

A few years back, asthma used to be a rare ailment, but with the passage of time, it has become quite common even in the newborn children. There are several factors causing it, but let's stay with the topic here.

The nebulizer compressor has emerged out as a highly effective remedy for the people suffering from breathing disorders. Earlier in time, one could only benefit from it by visiting hospitals or doctors. However, with the invention of portable nebulizer, the need was eliminated to only the severe cases of asthma attack. Over the years, it has become a common product and can be purchased at any local medical shop.

Over an extended period of usage, patients may come across some problems while using their nebulizer compressor. The most common problems being the elongated hours of treatment once the product gets old or ineffectiveness. Most of the people do not know that it can be caused by the clogged inlet air filter or the malfunctioning of the medication cup.

Let us begin with the basic terminology before we begin with the tips. The machine that you use is called the 'compressor'. The equipment containing the medicine that you hold in your hand is called the 'nebulizer'. This is the reason why we call the complete setup as a nebulizer compressor.

Now that we have come clear of the terminology, the following tips can really help you in making the most of your equipment:

  • The first thing to check regularly (in a month or two) is the inlet filters. Look at the color. If you find any unusual change, you might need to replace the filters. There is no fixed time that can be advised to all in general as it depends on the user and the usage.
  • For proper functioning of a nebulizer compressor, you need to make sure that the air passage is not restricted. If the dust or dirt accumulates itself in the passage, the airflow will be restricted, extending the overall time of your treatment.
  • Some of the medication cups are disposable ones. Do check the instructions before buying so you can keep a track. If you have the disposable ones, you must change them every week or two. The long time medication cups are crafted with higher grade of plastic and can be used for as long as 6 months effectively.

Keeping these tips in mind, you can use your nebulizer compressor effectively for longer periods without facing any issue. For further information about your particular model, you must refer to the leaflet or instruction manual that comes in the package.

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Dealing With Asthma And Allergies In Children

If left unattended, asthma can cause sever problems in a child and can even be fatal. Given the seriousness of the disease it is important to be able to identify symptoms of this disease in your child and get medical help as soon as possible so that the problem can be kept under control and your child can lead a healthy life.

Does Your Child Suffer from Allergies or Asthma?

An allergy is an inflammatory reaction to some kind of foreign substance that does not agree with your body. Asthma, on the other hand, is a lung disease that causes difficulty in breathing. This disease affects the lower respiratory area.

Allergies and asthma are often mistaken for each other since they can show similar symptoms. In fact, a number of people who are suffering from asthma also tend to suffer from a number of allergies. In both cases, the immunity system in the body tries to fight off different kinds of allergens. This causes inflammation in the system. People who suffer from asthma experience this inflammation in their airways, making it difficult for them to breath.

Managing Your Child's Asthma

Asthma is very difficult to prevent. However, there are certain things that you can do to try and manage the asthma and keep it under control.

• Stay away from the triggers. Different children react to different kinds of triggers. If your child responds to dust, try to stay away from it. You should keep an eye on your child to figure out what may have triggered an attack so that you can stay away from it.
• Try some yoga. A number of kids respond well to yoga and it helps them breathe better. These breathing techniques could help to reduce the intensity of the attacks or the number of attacks.
• Introduce pets at an early age. This step should be done before your child starts getting an asthma attack around pets. Studies have shown that children who have grown up with pets from a young age often have less allergies and do not suffer from asthma as much. However, if your child already responds to the pets then you should keep them away.
• Follow the doctor's instructions. If your child has been prescribed certain medicines, ensure that the medications are given properly and on time. It could help to prevent a lot of trouble later.
• If your child gets asthma outdoors or around pollen, try to keep him or her indoors as much as possible and shut all your windows at home. This should be done even more during the spring since there is a lot of pollen in the air at this time of the year.

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For Those Who Suffer From Asthma or COPD: Here’s How to Use a Nebulizer

One piece of equipment that many asthmatics come to learn intimately is a nebulizer. A nebulizer is quite simply a breathing machine that turns liquid medicine into a mist making it easy to inhale. The jet nebulizer is the most common type used, especially for children.

These nebulizers are very easy to use and allow the children to inhale medicine through a mask or a mouthpiece by just breathing naturally. This ensures that more medication is delivered to the bronchioles and the lungs as opposed to using an inhaler, where most of the medication is delivered to the back of the throat without used properly. These inhalers are more difficult for young children because they require a high degree of coordination of hands, mouth and breathing.

Because nebulizers make it easier for infants and young children to get more of the medication they are most often used in children. However, using the nebulizer requires the use of a mask over both the nose and mouth which can feel claustrophobic to some young children. Once parents have gotten the hang of setting the nebulizer up, it is important to incorporate a few different techniques to make the time easier for both you and your child.

It is important to get into a routine when using the nebulizer with your child. For instance use it at the same time each day so the child knows what to expect and when. Set up the machinery in the same way and sit in the same place in the house. You can also make this special time with your child by allowing the toddler to sit in your lap or on a special chair in the house just for his nebulizer treatments.

Some parents have found success making this time fun for the child by pulling out special toys or reading during the treatment. Although the mask may feel a bit claustrophobic children respond well by pretending to be a pilot, an astronaut or a fire fighter. It's helpful to be able to read books about pilots, astronauts or firefighters during the nebulizer treatment.

Put your child in charge of some aspect of his treatment. By setting up a calendar which the child can mark after each treatment or by using a sticker system for the child to decorate the children have a better sense of control over their environment.

Most of the time insurance companies will pay for nebulizers for the family. At one time they were referred through durable medical equipment providers but because the cost of owning one at home has declined so significantly they are now purchased.

Regular care of the nebulizer system is very important to maintain proper operation and longevity. It is important to note that different systems may require different cleaning procedures and that referencing the manufacturer's instructions is important.

If certain parts are dishwasher safe you may use a dishwasher safe basket on the top rack of the dishwasher to sterilize the equipment every couple of days. Otherwise they can be washed by hand in warm water and dishwashing soap and then rinsed thoroughly. They should be left out to air dry so that no bacteria grows in a moist environment.

During use, the compressor should be a level surface near an electrical outlet and plugged in. Once the treatment is over, the equipment should be unplugged from the wall and replaced in an area where children can not reach it and play with it. Wash your hands thoroughly before mixing the medication and to decrease the risk of transmitting bacteria into the child's lungs.

Run the nebulizer treatment until the medication is completely gone. The nebulizer cups should remain in the upright position to allow for the best mist possible.

Plan ahead. Nebulizers are not usually used on a daily basis over months at a time. Once the treatments are no longer active, the nebulizer should be washed, clean thoroughly, dried and stored in a clean, dry and dust free the location. Inspect the parts prior to storing the nebulizer and replace any parts or supplies that will be required before it is put into use again.

Nebulizers are a wonderful addition to the treatment plan for delivering bronchodilators to children. They increase the amount of medication which a child will receive while decreasing their risk of hospitalization for an asthma attack gone out of control. By keeping your nebulizer in good working condition you will help to improve the health of those children in your home who suffer from asthma.

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Natural Remedies To Overcome Asthma

Health conditions are caused by numerous factors. It may be in your genes, in the environment and many more. These conditions restrict individuals from functioning properly and efficiently. Thus, numerous tasks at home or at work can not be accomplished.

As of now, one of the most common health conditions that affect individuals is asthma. It is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. Some of its symptoms are wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Luckily, there are medications and treatments that can prevent or get rid of asthma. However, there are times when these medications can not cater to your needs due to your lifestyle. To help you overcome asthma, natural remedies can also be used in order to make medications more effective. Listed below are some of the remedies you may opt for.

Be careful with the food items you eat

First and foremost, you need to be cautious with the food items in your eat. This is important since some food items may provoke an attack. Some of the food items that can provoke an asthma attack are nuts, shellfish, milk intolerance, eggs, and strawberries. Meanwhile, some food items with artificial colors like tartrazine must also be avoided. With this, you can reduce the risks of an asthma attack.

Keep away from issues that can trigger your asthma

It is also essential for individuals to keep away from factors that can trigger asthma. One of the most common factors that trigger asthma is smoke. So, it is important that individuals with asthma do not smoke. It is also important that you inspect the weather before going out since cold weather can trigger your asthma. In case that you have pets like dogs or cats at home, it is advised that you keep away from these pets since fur can irritate your nose and can also provoke an asthma attack.

Improve your respiratory system

Another important remedy of asthma is by improving your respiratory system. Having a healthy respiratory system can reduce asthma attacks. However, sports activities can also provoke asthma attacks. With this said, it is important that you warm up slowly in order for your body to cope with the activity. Trying breath works also help you improve your respiratory system. Breath works are usually offered in yoga classes. To ensure that asthma attacks are eliminated during activities, you need to choose activities that can help minimize asthma. In this way, you can properly deal with your health issue easily.

Opt for herbal remedies

Lastly, you can opt for essential oils and herbal drinks that can help reduce the risks of asthma. As of now, using extra-virgin olive oil as your main fat can help you. Opting for ginger can provide you with anti-inflammatory features.

With these simple tips, you can naturally prevent or get rid of asthma, which can help improve your health and future.

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Asthma Relief Through This Ancient Chinese Practice

Qi Gong, pronounced as Chi Kung, is an ancient Chinese medical, martial and spiritual practice that entails the use of postures, breathing techniques and mental focus. The name of this ancient practice is derived from two words: Qi which means “life force” and Gong which means “accomplishment” or “skill.”

Qi Gong can be used to achieve a number of benefits. Some practices can be used in order to increase the energy in a body while others are used to aid in the circulation of energy. Still, there are practices that are used to heal and cleanse the body while others can aid in improving a person's emotional and mental well-being.

In various countries around the world, experts are recognizing Qi Gong as a form of alternative / complementary medicine which can be used to aid conventional treatments. One of the conditions wherein Qi Gong can help is asthma.

By practicing Qi Gong, asthma sufferers can minimize the number of attacks as well as the severity of these. Qi Gong can help asthma sufferers in three ways: boosting the immune system, relaxation, and effective breathing.

If you want to reap these benefits, there are two Qi Gong exercises that you can perform: Green Dragon Separate Water, and the Bow and Arrow Stance.

Apart from helping with asthma, the Green Dragon Separate Water exercise is useful for people fighting depression, it can help improve posture, boost confidence, and aid the respiratory system, specifically the heart and lungs.

The exercise is performed beginning with an upright stance. The arms are placed in front of the body at shoulder level while the palms face forward and the fingers of each hand point to one another. From this position, slowly separate the arms, moving to either side with palms positioned sideward. While relocating to this position, make sure that you breathe in through your nose. From there, move to the starting position by moving your arms close together. Here, you should breathe out through your mouth. Repeat 10 times.

The Bow and Arrow stance, like the Green Dragon Separate Water exercise, is also beneficial to the respiratory system and can help people who are depressed, those suffering from skin conditions, and people who want to strengthen the arms.

To perform this exercise, begin with a horse riding stance. From here, raise both hands to chest level, making sure that the palms face inward / toward the body while the fingers are pointing to each other. Next, cross both arms in front of your chest with the right arm positioned on the outside of the left arm. Now, with your left hand, curl your middle, ring and little fingers. The index finger should be extended forward while the thumb is turned upward. Now move your left arm horizontally while at shoulder height towards your left side, making sure that you inhale. The palm and forefinger should be positioned at a right angle to your arm and your eyes should look to your left. As you are doing this thing, make a loose fist with your right hand and move it to height toward your right side. Finish this exercise by exhaling while releasing both fists and crossing your arms in front of your chest. Repeat this on the other side.

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Control Your Asthma With Diaphragmatic Breathing

What is the diaphragm? You often hear it associated with breathing and singing; Whether you're doing one or the other, the correct way to do it is from the diaphragm. If you've been pregnant before, you've probably been told that your shortness of breath is caused by your belly bulge pressing against your diaphragm. You can safely assume that it's a body part located somewhere along your tummy, but what exactly is it?

The diaphragm is a sheet of muscle sitting under the lungs. When it is at rest and not contracting, it forms a dome and divides the chest from the abdomen. When it contracts as it does when you breathe, it descends and the dome flattens toward the abdomen, pulling down the lung bases with it and opening the air sacs to take in air. The diaphragm is integral to correct breathing because it compacts the lung bases that get the most blood flow. The thing about good tissue oxygenation is that it requires oxygen from the air you breathe to diffuse into the blood vessels passing through your lungs. Doing diaphragmatic breathing means ensuring good air supply meets with good blood supply.

When your diaphragm descends, it puts pressure against the abdominal organs, which are for the most part fluid-filled. Since fluid can not be compressed, the abdomen has to displace somewhere to make room for the diaphragm. This is why the stomach walls move outwards when you inhale while doing diaphragmatic breathing, which is clearly also referred to as abdominal or belly breathing.

Exhaling, on the other hand, is a relaxing movement, allowing the diaphragm to go back to its domed position at rest. It calms you and releases stress, since the relieving feeling of a sigh. Diaphragmatic breathing is the correct way to breathe. To check if you're doing it, see if your stomach rises when you inhale and relaxes when you exhale. When the opposite happens, what you're doing is paradoxical breathing.

When you breathe paradoxically, the neck, shoulder, and inter-rib muscles have to put in more effort to maintain your breathing. While diaphragmatic breathing feet effortless, paradoxical breathing makes you tired and your chest sore.

If you find that you are a paradoxical leather, you may need to get some professional help retraining your diaphragm. This is especially important for asthma sufferers as learning to breathe correctly can go a long way in helping them control their disease. Physiotherapists often help asthma patients with breathing exercises involving tummy breathing, which allows them to relax and get over an attack naturally.

Your body is designed to breathe diaphragmatically, so whether you suffer from asthma or not, it would serve you well to start practicing it for better health.

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Asthma Relief – The Very Best Natural Cures

Asthma is a condition by which air passage of the lungs becomes inflamed causing the person suffering from it to have a problem of breathing. An asthma attack can be triggered due to various reasons like exposure to dust, smoking, or certain pollens like oak. However, asthma is curable, and this can be achieved without using any inhaler or medicine. Here are some safe home remedies for asthma.

Home remedies for asthma

-Ginger and garlic

Ginger and garlic are very common ingredients used in cooking but these are also excellent natural remedies for asthma. Make ginger tea and add some minced garlic. Take the tea twice or thrice a day and you will experience the difference in just a few days. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger have been known to be of great value for alleviating asthmatic attack. It has demonstrated the positive effect on inhibiting the asthmatic inflammatory mediators.

-Honey and turmeric

Taking honey and turmeric every day in the morning before having anything else can reduce asthma attack. Honey and turmeric are excellent home remedies for asthma and has been in use for a long time. Research shows that turmeric helps improve chronic asthma and reduces the presence of fungi. It also has anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties.

-Drumstick leaves

The drumstick is used in many dishes all over the world but its leaves are excellent remedy for asthma. Boil some of its leaves in water and drink it as soup. For a better taste, you can add some salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon.

-Water

Are you wondering how water can be a natural remedy for asthma? By drinking plenty water, your blood vessels will be diluted, so facilitating proper flow of oxygen. In case one has an asthma attack and if no other medicine is available, drinking a glass of water will provide much relief.

-Hot black coffee

Black coffee provides an instant remedy for asthma. It has been proven that caffeine has excellent asthma control properties. If you add milk then it will increase the chances of mucus formation in your respiratory track. Therefore, avoid adding milk or even sugar when you are having coffee.

-Honey and hot water

Every day before going to sleep, mix a teaspoon of honey in hot water and drink it. It will clear your throat and you will feel very fresh and relieved the next day and the frequency of attack will reduce.

-Grapes and milk

Soak some grapes in water all night and in the morning keep the grapes in cold milk for half an hour. Have these grapes first thing in the morning before eating anything else. It will work wonders on your asthma.

– Galanga (Alpinia galanga): Rhizomes extract from galanga has anti-spasmodic effect which alleviates asthma.

– Pine (Pinus sylvestris). The pine contains various elements with anti-asthmatic features. These contents assist to ease inflammation, reduce coughing and enhance breathing.

– Violet plant: The ability of violet plant to mucosal infection and antitussive properties are very amazing for asthma sufferers. This plant can lower coughing and inflammation in the airways, which enables better breathing by asthma patients.

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How to Prevent an Asthma Attack Naturally

Asthma attacks are a nightmare. The panic, fear, and struggle to regain normal breathing can make it seem like an eternity to get relief.

Most medications and remedies are reactive “solutions”. Here are some preventive actions that can be taken that can give you confidence and control over asthma.

1. Optimize digestion

Poor digestion can create toxins in the body that can lead to inflammation.

Add herbs and spices to your diet that promote having more frequent bowel movements. Garlic, ginger, aloe, senna, cascara sagrada, barberry, clove, and turmeric are all helpful in promoting good digestion.

Eliminate foods that cause digestive problems. A good starting place is to remove refined sugar, refined white flour, and dairy as they all have negative effects on the digestive system.

Add digestive-friendly foods to your day with green smoothies. One of green smoothie a day can give your body a much needed boost of vitamins and minerals. Here is an example of my typical daily green smoothie; water, coconut water, ginger root, celery, kiwi, parsley, and romaine lettuce.

Chew your food thoroughly. This one may seem simple, but it was actually hard for me. I've been scarfing my food down since I was a kid. But the benefits are too good not to keep practicing. It allows more nutrients to be absorbed and it allows your stomach not to work so hard since the pieces of food are much smaller.

Try intermittent fasting. Just do not eat sometimes. I'll have to admit this one sounded crazy to me, I love to eat, and I was sure I would starve! But one Sunday I went for it. I did not eat for 24 hour and I lived to tell the tale, in fact I felt really good during the fasting! The major benefit to this approach is it gives the digestive system much needed rest.

2. Stay hydrated.

Drink plenty of water. This will help the mucus in the lung from becoming sticky. It's easy to lose track of this step during the busy day and with so many other drink options available water can be overlooked.

3. Retrain your breathing.

Breathing should be done effortlessly through the nose. If you are a mouth breather or a heavy breather it would benefit you greatly to start practicing gentle nose breathing. This was easier said than done for me as I was a heavy mouth breather. But with practice and the help of a couple of breathing training devices I was able to get it under control and I am so much better for it!

4. Walk or participate in low impact exercise

Having asthma is a great excuse for not working out, after all you do not want to get yourself all worked up and induce and asthma attack. But you'll find that walking or other low impact activities like qigong can improve asthma control because they can be done while maintaining gentle nose breathing.

Avoid the nightmare of an asthma attack by using these natural prevention tips in your daily routine.

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These 5 Steps Helped Me Stop Feeling Like A Helpless Victim Of Asthma

I was diagnosed with asthma at age nine. I never thought that I could do something about it except go to the doctor and refill my preventative inhaler and my rescue inhaler. I truly believed this was the normal routine for a person with asthma until I stopped getting relief from my inhalers.

Around Thanksgiving 2011 I was struggling terribly with my asthma. Wheezing, chest tightness, and panic were daily occurrences. I would be paving away on my inhalers to help ease the pain but it was only helpful for about an hour. I was scared. Thirty two years old and my lungs feel useless.

That week I was in the doctor's office again. We were talking about my symptoms and then we got on the topic of food triggers. I started telling him that I had noticed some connection between certain foods and asthma flare ups to which he replied “hmm, that's interesting.” But for me the cartoon light bulb went off over my head! I screamed at myself inside my head “why do not I stop eating those foods!”

The doctor sent me on my way with another prescription that I filled but never used. I left his office with an adrenaline rush. I was in control. I was going to stop eating those foods immediately, but I knew I could do more than that.

I sat down at my kitchen table, fired up the laptop, and started a self-evaluation. I started listing the things that I could control that would have impact and sustainability in controlling my asthma.

I used a back to basics approach and kept it as simple as possible.

Here are the top 5 steps to obliterate asthma:

1. Mindset change

This was not the life wanted and I was no longer going to accept it. I realized for the first time that I really could make choices that would obliterate my asthma. If you really grab a hold of this mindset it is liberating!

2. Minimize or completely stop eating foods that can trigger asthma

Foods that contain refined sugar, refined white flour, and dairy are the big ones on my hit list.

3. Eat more vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices that are known to prevent inflammation.

Spinach, romaine lettuce, parsley, celery, kale, apples, ripe bananas, chia seeds, aloe, garlic, ginger root, turmeric, and clove bud are known to help fight asthma

4. Drink more water.

I'm talking H2O not flavored water, juice, or tea. Real water! I want to emphasize this because it was so simple that I did not do it for a long time. I can think of days when I never had one glass of real water. There are entire books and websites devoted to the topic of drinking water, so do not miss this one!

5. Stop mouth breathing.

The nose is specifically designed for breathing. It warms, moisturizes, and filters the air that enters our lungs.

Now my inhalers sit on a shelf collecting dust. I have more energy, I'm relaxed, and I'm not afraid of asthma. Making simple changes that have big impact and that can be sustained are critical to taking control and obliterating asthma.

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An Explanation Of The Term Asthma Pathophysiology

Pathophysiology is the study of what is abnormal, or what causes normal physiological processes to be disturbed. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory problem of the lungs and bronchioles which is characterized by reversible bronchospasm that often result from an exaggerated response to a variety of stimuli. This is the pathophysiological response which the lungs take when assorted by an allergen.

What does all this mean? Well in the first place it means that asthma is not all in the mind and that it can not be outgrown. It also means that it is a serious disease but is that you can not catch it from someone else who has it. The pathophysiological changes caused inflammatory and symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

There are actually two types of asthma-extrinsic and intrinsic. An asthmatic who suffers from extrinsic asthma will have difficulty with allergic and immune responses. These individuals are often classified as being atopic, meaning that they have difficulty with IgE responses. Individuals who have asthmatic attacks from intrinsic factors means that they do not have an immune response but rather an allergic response to either aspirin or specific types of infections.

The more common of the two are those individuals who suffer from extrinsic asthma, or that which is immune mediated. In these cases the lungs of the individual becomes inflamed and the bronchial tubes become hyper responsive to allergens. The inflammation in the airway is an important part of the pathology and the undering process which derives and maintains the inflammatory process.

The inflammation will activate the release of mast cells, eosinophils and macrophages in the airway. These substances increase the amount of mucus secret present in the airways.

Therefore an individual with asthma struggles with two individual responses in the bronchi and bronchioles which results in reduced air exchange in the lungs, coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. In the first instance the lungs became inflamed or swollen from the allergic response to an inhaled substance. The inflammation alone is enough to cause difficulty breathing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Combined with the infection is the increased mucus production caused by the body's response to the allergen inside the lungs. This increased mucus production also causes shortness of breath and wheezing but it also induces coughing to clear the mucus.

This complex interaction between inflammatory cells, mediators and tissues in the airway cause injury to the epithelium and prolonged contraction of the smooth muscle. The lungs continue to secret mucus, swell and change the involuntary control of breathing. These inflamed airways become more narrow and obvious which causes hyper-responsiveness and results in narrowing when the stimulus is introduced.

Individuals who suffer from extrinsic asthma can be triggered by a viral respiratory infections, pollen or mold, tobacco smoke, cold air or even exercise. Most individuals must determine their particular triggers in order to avoid them and then prevent an asthmatic attack.

This airway obstruction can develop suddenly or gradually and will cause very real physical symptoms that can range from mild to life-threatening. Although stress has been known to increase the severity of the symptoms, asthma is not a condition which is psychologically based. But, like all other physical conditions, stress will increase the severity of the body's reaction to the disease.

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Asthma and Patient Engagement: An ICD-10 Marriage

Few relationships in health care equal or trump the discomfort between a health condition and patient engagement than that which will apply to asthma in the wake of the ICD-10-CM transition. The primary reasons are the following:

  • The impending ICD-10-CM coding system coincides with the current international asthma classification system – a system devised by an expert panel of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in 2007.
  • The new coding system takes into account the meaningful involvement of patients in the treatment of their asthma.

The current ICD-9 diagnosis coding system has three main codes for asthma based on whether or not the asthma is allergic, nonallergic or a mixture of asthma and COPD. The new coding system will be totally different though. Its codes will focus primarily on the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms.

The current asthma classification system rates symptom frequency as intermittent or persistent. Intermittent means that symptoms occur two or fewer days per week. Persistent has three subcategories. They are mild, moderate and severe. Mild means symptoms occur greater than two days per week. Moderate means they occur daily. Severe means they occur throughout the day.

The classification system grades symptom severity based on the following:

  • The number of times per week symptoms cause awakening at nighttime
  • The number of times per day a short acting inhaler (rescue medication) has to be used to relieve symptoms
  • The degree to which symptoms interfere with normal activities of daily living

The current asthma classification system also uses some other variables to classify the disease. But the frequency and severity criteria make it a suitable companion of the ICD -10-CM coding system which main codes for asthma signify:

  • Mild intermittent asthma
  • Mild persistent asthma
  • Moderate persistent asthma
  • Severe persistent asthma

The patient engagement which brings about the asthma / ICD-10-CM marriage is involvement of patients in their disease management in ways that help health care providers choose the most appropriate ICD-10-CM codes referring to their health care. The lion's share of that involvement will be patient record-keeping. Much of the record-keeping should refer to the frequency and severity of symptoms as well as some of the other criteria utilized by the international classification system.

One such criterion is lung function. The volume of air expelled with a maximal effort following a maximal deep breath (forced vital capacity or FVC) and the volume of air expeled in one second with maximum effort following a maximal deep breath (forced expiratory volume in one second or FEV1) are the measurements used in classifying asthma based on lung function. A professional procedures these measurements in a laboratory setting. Therefore it is not a patient engagement activity. But there is an alternative lung function measurement which patients can perform with a handheld device at home. As such, it is a patient engagement activity. The measurement is peak flow rate, which is the maximum speed at which a person can exhale air after taking the deepest breath possible. The device which fulfills the measurement is a peak flow meter.

Measurement of peak flow rates is not an official part of the asthma classification system but the system implies that it is an alternative. Additionally, many health care providers are of the same opinion. At any rate, it is a patient engagement activity which can help anchor the marriage between asthma and ICD-10-CM.

Sharing recorded asthma symptom and lung function information with your health care provider will not only promote a happy ICD-10-CM marriage. It can serve as an impetus for a healthier asthma patient.

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Apprehending Asthma

“We always hope for the easy fix: the one simple change that will erase a problem in a stroke. But few things in life work this way. , no goofs, everyone pitching in. ” – Atul Gawande, surgeon and journalist

Since I have talked of colds and allergies I guess it is natural to feel compelled to discuss the challenges a disciplinaryian faces with managing asthma. My moment of truth came when a close friend of mine broke down as I was nebulizing her nephew. I knew that she had outgrown wheezing episodes as a child and I expected her to be reassuring by virtue of her experience. When I asked her to explain herself she said, “The fear you feel when it becomes increasingly difficult to breathe, it's horrible … I know what the child must be going through, can not help feeling bad for him.” That's when I guessed that it's this panic that actates so much of absurd behavior and decision making. So let me share some facts to allay some of it.

First of all being asthmatic means you have airways that are hypersensitive and prone to becoming narrowed because the surrounding tissues get bloated as a part of the rabble rousing response of the immune system when it encounters some triggers. Asthma attacks come and go, with wide variation in the symptoms at different times. Many people with asthma have problems only occasionally but others struggle with it every day. There is no cure, the focus should be on control, and it can be achieved. What we aim for when we say control, is generally

An ability to live an active, normal life (which means performing daily activities, play, and participation in sports without difficulty)

Prevention of chronic and troublesome symptoms

Zero school absenteeism because of asthma related symptoms

Avoidance of symptoms during the night

Stopping the need for urgent visits to the doctor, emergency department, or hospital

Prescription and adjustment of medications to control asthma with little or no side effects

Secondly, not all wheezing is asthma. About half of infants and toddlers with repeated episodes of wheezing with shortness of breath or cough (even though these illnesses usually respond to asthma treatments) will not have asthma by the age of six. Because of this, many pediatricians use terms like “reactive airways disease” or “bronchiolitis” when describing such children instead of labeling them as asthmatic.

No one really knows the exact reasons why more and more children are developing asthma in recent times. Some experts suggest that children spend too much time indoors and are exposed to more and more dust, air pollution, and second-hand smoke. Some suspect that children are not exposed to enough childhood illnesses to direct the attention of their immune system to bacteria and viruses and therefore, develop allergies (the so called “hygiene hypothesis”).

We also find many parents hesitant to give inhaled asthma drugs or liquid medicines delivered with an asthma nebulizer, also known as a breathing machine. I wish parents would take the time to educate themselves (the resources being so accessible) and have clear concepts in their minds because only then can they motivate children to be regular with medications and not feel self-conscious while taking them. This is very cruel.

Asthma in children is handled using very specific guidelines, depending on the severity and duration of symptoms. The medications given fall into two categories. One category includes drugs taken daily that are meant to control asthma in the long term and reduce the frequency of asthma attacks (controller or maintenance medicines). The other category is medicines that provide immediate relief from symptoms (rescue medicines). Steroids are a vital part of the list too. Very short oral courses (three or five days) or long term inhaled preparations seldom cause alarming side effects and there is no need for trepidation. In general, doctors start with a high level of therapy during an asthma attack and then decrease treatment to the lowest possible level that still prevails asthma flare-ups and allows your child to have a normal life. Every child needs to follow a customized asthma management plan based on the severity and trigger factors so do not compare it with another.

So the essential parts to managing your child's asthma are Identifying and Controlling Asthma Triggers, knowing when to expect flare ups and having a clear plan of action to handle it, being regular with medicines and periodically updating your knowledge with your doctor.

This can take time and energy to master, but it's worth the effort!

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And The Cough Goes On

Do you have an untreated cough that has lasted for several weeks? If so, you are not alone. Many patients in my practice have been complaining about a cough that does not seem to go away. I have seen more of this year than in other years, and it started back in November of last year.

Typically, one would have an episode of bronchitis, sinusitis, or the common cold, which may have been treated with a course of antibiotics. The initial symptoms then partly or fully resolve. A few days or a week later, the nagging cough develops, and is commonly referred to as “post infectious cough.”

The cough may be “productive” (producing mucus), or it may be “dry.” It can occur during the day, when you're lying down at night, or through the night. In more severe cases, the cough will come in “volleys” (paroxysms), and will awaken you, or even frighten you. It may be associated with a post nasal drip or gastric acid reflux. Some medications, particularly some of the medication used for the treatment of high blood pressure, can cause a persistent, dry cough.

The underlying reason for the cough is an inflammatory process which affects the linings of the bronchial tree leading to the lungs. It's similar to the process responsible for bronchial asthma. It is thought by some permissions that, when left untreated, this condition can leave you predisposed to a recurrence, or even trigger the new sunset of asthma.

When the cough lingers, you should be examined by a physician. This is especially important if you have a chronic condition such as asthma, chronic bronchitis or heart disease, and even more so if you have an impaired immunity, take immune suppressing medications, or are a smoker.

In treating the persistent cough, the physician must make sure that conditions other than post infectious cough are ruled out, such as pneumonia, asthmatic bronchitis and the whooping cough (pertussis).

Once other causes have been ruled out or treated, the post infectious cough will resolve on its own. But it may take weeks, and I have seen it last for months. Treating it will generally shorten the duration and severity of the post infectious cough, and should make you feel better much faster.

So, when you develop a lingering cough, do not just tough it out, have it evaluated medically, and treated if necessary. See your primary care physician or pulmonary specialist!

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Homeopathic Treatment for Asthma – The Safer and Smarter Alternative

With rapidly increasing air pollution across the globe, especially in urban and industrial hubs, there has been an alarming rise in the incidence of asthma and other respiratory illnesses all around the world. According to conservative estimates, at present around 300 million people in the world are in need of asthma treatment, and this number is expected to rise by another 100 million by 2025.

The characteristic feature of Asthma is an excess reactivity of the respiratory system (main wind pipe and its numerous branches) to a variety of external stimuli resulting in their narrowing and constriction along with increased secretions. These changes result in the following typical symptoms:

  • Breathlessness
  • Cough
  • Wheezing

There may be an initial constriction feeling in the chest prior to the actual onset of symptoms. The common allergens that provoke an asthma attack include dust, pollen, molds, change of weather, pet animals, chemicals in air or food, tobacco smoke, stress, etc.

Traditionally, asthma treatment involves the use of bronchodilators, steroids, and nebulising agents (in oral, inhaler or injectable forms) to relieve the constriction and narrowing. These asthma treatments help in achieving a certain degree of control over the symptoms. However, there is no conventional asthma treatment to reduce the excess reactivity or sensitivity of the airways.

Thus, it is a well recognized fact that despite spending billions of dollars on asthma research worldwide, Asthma treatment remains one of the toughest challenges for the medical fraternity. An attack can be easily precipitated by the presence of triggering factors.

The world today is shifting its focus towards homeopathic treatment for asthma which aims at reducing the excessive reactivity or sensitivity of the airways towards harmless environmental factors.

Homeopathic treatment for Asthma reduces the hypersensitive response by modifying the patient's immune system. This causes marked reduction in severity of the attacks. Homeopathic treatment for asthma focuses on treating the patient rather than merereating the symptoms of the disease. Thus, homeopathic treatment for asthma helps in regulating the immune system of the patient rather than suppressing it.

Homeopathic treatment for Asthma includes a detailed study of the patient's case history in order to find out the patient's individuality that identifies him / her from others. Once the patient's unique portrait has been painted in minute detail, then the remedy that closely matches is selected as the right remedy.

Asthma treatment with such a remedy then gradually brings about a marked improvement in the patient's symptoms providing him with initial relief. However, more importantly, such a well selected remedy then begins changing the patient's immune response and reduces the oversensitivity or reactivity over a period of time. Thus homeopathic treatment for asthma brings about a rapid, gentle and permanent cure in the patient's asthma.

Thus, homeopathic treatment for Asthma is your best bet for attaining freedom from Asthma!

Also read … the highly educated book on effective asthma treatment with homeopathy by noted homeopathic expert, Dr. Jawahar Shah, which focuses on and other lifestyle options.

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