Asthma in adults Introduction
Asthma is a common disease which affects all age groups.
Half the cases show some genetic tendency (familial) and half of the cases result from environmental factors.
Although there is no complete cure for asthma in adults, effective treatments for long-term control are available which makes the life of an asthmatic easy and stress-free. Treatment protocol depends on the stage and extent of the disease.
There are namely two types of asthma:
- 1. Allergic caused by exposure to allergens
- 2. Nonallergic caused by Exercise or physical strain, changes in weather, Common respiratory Infections, emotional stress, exposure to dust or chemicals, certain medicines, etc.
Asthma in Adults: An Overview and Facts
Asthma is a respiratory tract disease which affects your lungs. A person having asthma will experience wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing at night or early in the morning as the main complaints.
Asthma is an episodic disease which means a person will have either episodic attacks like 2-3 times a week to 2-3 times a year or it may be seasonal like only 5-7 days in a year. It all depends upon individual susceptibilities and immune responses to various external factors.
Asthma is more likely to be hereditary which is affected by environmental factors.
Having an Asthma Attack
An asthma attack means an episode of active symptoms which may be triggered by a variety of factors like change in weather, infections, etc. The attack may include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble in breathing normally.
The attack happens because the airways are blocked which carries air thro and fro from lungs. The airways become narrow during an asthma attack along with swelling and shrinking of the sides of the airways.
This leads to a reduced air supply to the lungs. It is further complicated by formation of mucus in the airways which adds to the block.
Asthma Causes and Triggers
An asthma attack is most likely to happen when a person is exposed to asthma triggers.
Asthma triggers may differ from person to person. Knowing your triggers will help you find ways to avoid them.
Some of the most common triggers are tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, pets, smoke from burning wood or grass, etc.
Taking medicines regularly and avoiding the triggers are the best possible ways to deal with asthma.
Yes, a person can control his/her asthma by having an action plan.
We suggest the use of conventional as well as homeopathic medicines simultaneously to control this recurring disease for the benefit of the patients.
Asthma: Warning Signs and Symptoms
In Asthma the elasticity of the airways is decreased making it narrow. In a response to external allergens, the smooth muscles in the airways constrict and narrow excessively followed by an inflammatory reaction by the immune system.
This inflammatory reaction results in swelling of the airways and excess mucus secretion resulting in wheezing, cough, and breathlessness.
- The most common symptoms are a Persistent cough with wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound while breathing).
- Difficulty in breathing with tightness in chest,
- A cough with mucus (not present in all cases),
- Breathlessness causing exhaustion.
- The most important and distressing symptom of asthma is the difficulty in breathing or suffocation mostly at night or early morning which varies in intensity from person to person.
- A person can experience asthma attacks once a week to once in a year.
- Note: Having all these symptoms is not the final proof that a person has got asthma, there are many other diseases having a similar set of symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis of a lung function test along with physical examination and history taking is a must.
Diagnosing Asthma in Adults
Diagnosis of asthma cannot be done by using investigation techniques alone. A proper case history (personal and family) with thorough physical examination along with a few investigation reports are required to confirm the diagnosis of Asthma.
Along with the diagnosis of asthma, it is important to figure out the severity of asthma as well. As asthma is mild, moderate, or severe. So that treatment protocol may be decided based on the stage and severity of asthma.
Recording Medical and Family History
- Let your doctor know about your family history of asthma and allergies along with your personal symptoms and when and how often they occur.
- The attending doctor will try to eliminate your symptoms according to time, duration, aggravating and ameliorating factors, etc.
- The doctor will try to find out the trigger factors which starts or increases your symptoms.
- A detailed history will contain questions about other health issues, about the present and past medical history.
Applying a stethoscope can give a definite diagnosis to a trained physician especially in the cases of asthma. The doctor will listen to your breathing and look for signs of asthma or allergies.
Lung Function Test is a confirmatory test done to confirm the diagnosis.
This test is done with the help of spirometer and is called as spirometry to check how your lungs are working. This test measures how much air you can breathe in and out. It also measures how fast you can blow air out.
Other Tests for Asthma
- These tests may be done to support the diagnosis.
- Allergy test: To find out what kind of allergens affect you.
- Bronchoprovocation test is a test to measure how sensitive your airways are. It is also done using spirometry, this test repeated measures your lung function during physical activity or after you receive increasing doses of cold air or a special chemical to breathe in.
- A chest x-ray can be supportive as well.
Homeopathic Treatment for Asthma in Adults
Asthma is a cyclical or an episodic disease and remains for years together. Managing asthma is two-fold treatment.
In acute attacks
This is the period of active symptoms of asthma where patients demand quick relief. Hence almost all the treatments are focused on this aspect. In this phase combination of homeopathic as well as conventional medicines may be taken.
In the symptom-free period
There are no known medicines in conventional medicine which can reduce the asthma attacks and increase the symptom-free period. Here comes the excellence of homeopathy in treating asthma.
- Everyone with asthma should not be given the same medicines as every individual is different and responds to different environmental factors differently showing different symptoms. Homeopathy ensures prescription of medicines after thorough individual case taking.
- Homeopathic medicines need to be continued even in the symptom-free period.
Homeopathic medicines will help in the following way:
- To reduce the frequency and severity of attacks,
- boosting the immune system in order to fight the common infections easily thereby reducing the chances of the trigger to asthma.
- boosts the immunity in such a way that need for conventional medicines is reduced over a period of time,
- Increases the capacity of the body to fight with the future attacks.
- You can control your asthma by knowing the warning signs of an asthma attack, staying away from things that cause an attack, and following your doctor’s advice. When you control your asthma:
- Homeopathy helps in reducing the symptoms such as wheezing or coughing, breathlessness reduces providing good sleep and reduces the need to visit the hospital.