Many (although not all) people who suffer from Asthma also suffer from allergies. There are a variety of treatments for asthma ranging from medical (i.e. inhalers) to lifestyle changes to complementary and alternative practices of many different types – many of these can be used in combination with inhalers or traditional medication in such a way that the need for that traditional medication can be significantly reduced. It is important with a condition such as asthma to consult your medical professionals diligently and not to see complementary treatments as a replacement for the traditional treatments that you may need. Asthma can be life threatening so proceeding with care and caution is always a good idea.
Asthma can have a significant impact on some people’s lives, while for others it is minor and does not cause significant challenges to their daily life.
Some of the types of treatments that may be offered to help with the symptoms of asthma include (in alphabetical order):
Note that this is not an exhaustive list of the modalities that may assist you to manage or reduce your symptoms from Asthma.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is defined by the Global Initiative for Asthma as ‘a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways in which many cells and cellular elements play a role’. The chronic inflammation is associated with airway hyper-responsiveness that leads to recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and coughing especially at night or early in the morning. These episodes are usually associated with variable airflow obstruction within the lung that are often reversible spontaneously or responds to a wide range of treatments. Continuing inflammation makes asthmatics hyper-responsive to such irritants as cold air, exercise, dust, pollen, infection, pollutants in the air, and even stress or anxiety.
Asthma may be classified as atopic (extrinsic) or non-atopic (intrinsic), based on whether symptoms are precipitated by allergens (atopic) or not (non atopic). Asthma usually begins in childhood or adolescence, but it can also first appear in adult life, so asthma can start at any age and in a wide variety of situations. While the symptoms may be similar, certain important aspects of asthma are different in children and adults. When asthma begins in childhood, it often does in a child who is genetically predisposed to become sensitized to common allergens in the environment, such a child is known as an atopic person. Allergenic materials may also play a role when adults become asthmatic, but many adults who are not allergic have conditions such as sinusitis or nasal polyps, they may be sensitive to some medications such as Aspirin. Another major source of adult asthma is exposure at work to a host of different products.
Asthma and athletics might seem as if they don’t mix well as most sports require fitness and endurance and asthma can make working out difficult. Exercise is a common trigger for an asthma attack, but the record books are filled with athletes who overcame asthma on their way to victory. Some developed asthma in childhood, others when they were already at the top of their game, either way asthma didn’t stop them from achieving success on the track, field, court, or in the pool.