What Is Asthma?
Asthma or bronchial asthma is a chronic condition affecting the lungs wherein the recurring inflammation and narrowing of the airways (bronchi) result in the obstruction of airflow in response to the sensitivity to certain allergic or non-allergic factors. This makes breathing difficult and may trigger recurrent episodes of coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
For some patients, asthma is minor trouble, but, for a few patients, it can be a major problem which may interfere with their daily activities and may lead to life-threatening asthma attacks.
Asthma is a very common condition affecting people all over the world. It may affect people of any age group, ranging from a month-old baby to elderly people.
Asthma can be controlled with proper management, and one can live a healthy and productive life.
Types Of Asthma:
Asthma in children is known as childhood asthma. The precipitating or triggering factors of asthma attacks, the frequency, duration, and intensity of the asthmatic attack may vary from child to child. Mild childhood asthma may get resolved with proper management during childhood. However, there prevails a risk that asthma might return at a later age. Due to the exposure to different allergens, environmental pollution, exposure to chemicals, genetic factors, food habits, and the misuse of antibiotics, the incidence of asthma is increasing in children from the age group of 1 to 14 years.
Asthma caused due to the occupation of the person is known as occupational asthma. In occupational asthma, the symptoms turn worst while working in a particular place, such as a bakery, chemical factory, farm, laboratory, drug factory, metal or plastic plants, wood factory, painting work, etc.
The relief from the symptoms may improve on the days when the patient is away from the workplace or environment which triggers the episode of asthma. Some people may experience symptoms, such as a runny nose, congestion, irritation in eyes, cough, etc. along with the symptoms of asthma.
When some patients experience episodes of asthma at a certain time of the year, it is known seasonal asthma. In this type of asthma, symptoms are triggered by things or conditions that are present only at certain times of the year such as pollens, cold weather, cloudy, or rainy weather, etc.
In many patients of asthma, a heavy workout can trigger an acute attack of asthma. Patients may feel chest tightness, shortness of breath, and cough within a few minutes after a workout.
Homeopathic Treatment For Asthma:
Asthma is an expression in the form of symptoms at the level of lungs due to internal hypersensitive immune system, so it has to be treated at the root level by correcting the disease at the immunological level. Homeopathy believes in the same principle. It corrects asthma at the immunological level by correcting the hypersensitivity and by improving the healing capacity of the immune system.
Being a chronic, recurrent disease, asthma requires long-term management. Homeopathy is very effective for long-term management of asthma, as homeopathic medicines do not have any side-effects and do not cause any dependency.
It helps the patient to live relatively attack-free or symptom-free period for a long time. As per the medical studies, patients who are on homeopathy live a much better life than those who are on bronchodilators or other conventional treatment for a long time.
Conventional treatment like cortisone or bronchodilators helps treat acute attacks of asthma. However, for reducing the recurrence, duration, and intensity of acute attacks of asthma, homeopathy works wonderfully. Homeopathy has changed the life of many who suffered from this chronic disease.
For the children suffering from asthma, homeopathy is a blessing. It helps in reducing the number of attacks, the duration of acute attacks, and the intensity of attacks. It also reduces the dependency on inhaled cortisone and other bronchodilators.
How homeopathy can help in treating asthma?
- Asthma results from oversensitivity (hypersensitivity) of the immune system. Homeopathy works by reducing the body's over-sensitivity and treats the disease at a deeper level.
- Homeopathy corrects your body’s immunity and hence reduces the body’s tendency to catch a frequent cold and cough, recurrent throat infections, etc. Hence, it improves the general health of the patient.
- Homeopathic medicines reduce the frequency, intensity, and duration of acute asthma attacks.
- Initially, homeopathy can be taken along with conventional medicines.
- When taken regularly over a period, homeopathic medicines may reduce the frequent need for conventional medicines, such as inhalers, bronchodilators, cortisone, or antibiotics.
- It helps the patient to live an attack-free phase for a long time, as it produces long-lasting results.
- Homeopathic treatment is absolutely safe, non-toxic, and non-habit-forming and hence can be taken as a part of long-term management of asthma.
Duration of treatment:
At Life Force, many patients experience a definite change in about initial 4-5 months of the homeopathic treatment, but the total duration of treatment varies from patient to patient depending on the following factors:
- The duration of illness: Since how long the patient is suffering from asthma?
- The severity of the disease
- Frequency, intensity, and duration of acute attacks of asthma.
- Genetic factors: A family history of asthma or other respiratory or allergic illnesses.
- The presence of or sensitivity to environmental factors, such as exposure to dust, allergens, industrial pollution, chemicals, smoking, etc.
- The general health of the patient.
- Previous and current use of medications, such as inhalers, bronchodilators, cortisone, antibiotics, etc.
- The presence of associated diseases, such as eczema, allergies, bronchiectasis, pulmonary fibrosis, heart diseases, etc.
Commonly prescribed homeopathic medicines in asthma:
Some of the commonly prescribed homeopathic medicines for asthma are Blatta orientalis, Natrum Sulphuricum, Ipecacuanha, Antimonium tartaricum, Lobelia inflata, Medorrhinum, Arsenicum album, Lycopodium, Kali Carb, etc.
What Happens In Asthma? (Pathogenesis)
Asthma is nothing but hypersensitivity reaction of the immune system to certain allergens or other non-allergic factors. Firstly, in a hypersensitive response, there occurs the constriction of smooth muscles and narrowing of the airways (bronchi). Then, the immune system responds to the allergens in the form of an inflammatory response by sending white blood cells and other immune factors to the airways. These factors lead to the swelling of the airways and an increase in the mucus secretion by the cells of airways. Thick mucus plugs can further block the airways. This causes symptoms such as wheezing, tightness of chest, coughing, and shortness of breath.
Prevalence Of Asthma:
Asthma is one of the most common chronic respiratory diseases affecting children. Around 15%-16 % of children worldwide (between the ages of 1 and 14 years) suffer from asthma. In adults, the incidence of asthma is more in females than males. Around 10%-11% of adults worldwide suffer from asthma. Children with a family history of allergy and asthma are more likely to suffer from asthma.
Causes Of Asthma:
Asthma is caused and maintained by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Multiple factors may be responsible for the development of asthma.
Genetic or Heredity factors, such as a family history of asthma or allergies, make the person more prone to develop asthma. The past medical history of low birth weight, premature birth, allergy, or childhood asthma also puts a person at a high risk of getting asthma.
Genetic factors make the patient susceptibility to getting affected by triggering factors causing asthma.
Allergens or Triggers of Asthma: The response to triggers are different for each patient. It may vary from time to time in a person. Here is the list of allergens or triggers of asthma.
- Environmental factors: Allergen like pollens, grass, pet dander, house dust, dust mites, mold spores, or particles of cockroach waste, etc.
- Exposure to air pollutants or fumes
- Smoking or secondhand smoking
- Infections: Respiratory infections like the common cold, sinusitis, etc.
- Physical activity, such as exercise, physical exertion, etc.
- Weather: Cold air, rainy or cloudy weather, a change of the weather
- Psychological factors: Strong emotions, such as anxiety, anger, crying, loud laughing, yelling, or stress, can trigger an asthma attack.
- Medications: Aspirin, NSAID, Beta-blockers, etc.
- Food allergens: A few patients may be allergic to eggs, milk, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish, salad, fruits, etc.
- Food additives: Preservatives added to the food and beverages and processed foods.
- GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
- Occupation: The exposure to chemicals, dust, and industrial waste.
Symptoms Of Asthma:
The symptoms of asthma vary from patient to patient. The intensity, duration, and recurrence of the symptoms or acute episode also differ in the patients. Even in the same patient, the presentation of each episode may vary.
Some patients present with a few symptoms every day, while some patients may experience periodic episodes of asthma with a symptom-free phase in between.
A few may have very mild symptoms, but a few patients suffer from severe episodes of asthma.
Some patients suffer from the symptoms only after exercise, during a particular season, or when exposed to allergens or other triggering factors.
Common Symptoms of Asthma:
Here are some common symptoms of asthma.
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Wheezing or whistling sound while breathing
- The cough gets worse at night most often.
- The tightness of the chest or feeling of pressure
- Nasal flaring
- Retractions of intercostal spaces
- Rapid heartbeat, sweating
- Difficulty while sleeping due shortness of breath, cough, or wheezing
- In a severe attack of asthma, bluish discoloration of the lips or face can be observed in a few patients.
- In some patients, an episode of asthma may start with other symptoms of allergy, such as sneezing, running nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, etc.
Based on the severity of symptoms, asthma can be divided into four levels:
Mild intermittent: When asthma symptoms or attacks occur twice a week or even less, it can be called the mild intermittent level of asthma. Between two episodes, one may not have any symptoms of asthma and lung function is normal.
Mild persistent asthma: When a patient gets symptoms or episodes of asthma more than twice a week, but not more than once in a single day, it is mild persistent asthma. The patient may suffer from symptoms of asthma more than twice in a month.
Moderate persistent asthma: When the patient suffers from the symptoms of asthma every day, it can be called moderate persistent asthma. The patient suffers from nighttime symptoms more than once a week.
Severe persistent asthma: At this level, the patient experiences the symptoms of asthma throughout the day on most days. The patient experiences symptoms more often at night or in the early morning.
Diagnosis Of Asthma:
- Diagnosis of asthma is often done clinically. A detailed case history (including the medical history, family medical history, and the presentation of symptoms) and physical examination help in the diagnosis of asthma. A physical examination also helps to rule out other medical conditions.
Investigations: Some investigations help to assess the extent of asthma and the association of other medical conditions.
- Lung function test: Spirometry and peak flow are used to measure the lung capacity and lung function. Lung function tests are performed before and after giving bronchodilator. If your lung function improves with the use of a bronchodilator, you likely have asthma.
- Imaging study: X-ray and CT scan of chest or sinuses can help to rule out the structural abnormalities or other diseases which can cause or aggravate the breathing problems.
- Allergy tests: Allergy test is a skin test or a blood test. It can identify the allergens, such as pet dander, dust, mold, etc.
- Challenge test or exhaled nitric oxide tests are done to confirm the diagnosis of asthma.
Supportive Treatment (Diet, Lifestyle, & Exercises) For Asthma:
If homeopathic treatment for asthma is augmented with measures, such as healthy diet, lifestyle changes, and exercises, it can help improve the lung function and reduce the symptoms of the disease.
Follow a healthy diet:
- Eat fresh fruits, vegetables, and salads every day. (Avoid foods that trigger your asthma.)
- Include foods rich in vitamin D, magnesium, beta-carotene, and omega 3 fatty acid in your diet.
- Avoid eating foods with preservatives and processed foods.
- Drink adequate water. Prefer to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day.
- Identify the factors which may trigger your asthma attack and try to avoid them.
- Avoid contact with the triggers, such as cold breeze, cold drinks, dust, dirt, pollen, etc., as they often trigger asthma attacks.
Exercise regularly and stay fit:
- Regular exercises and an active lifestyle are highly beneficial to manage the symptoms of asthma. Regular exercises strengthen your breathing muscles.
- Maintain a healthy weight, as obesity may increase the symptoms of asthma.
- Breathing exercises may help improve your lung function.
- Quitting smoking may reduce the severity and frequency of asthma.
- Avoid being exposed to secondhand smoking.
- Avoid infections, such as flu, cold or sinusitis, as it may trigger the episodes of asthma.
- Maintain good hygiene. Wash your hands properly.
Conventional Treatment For Asthma:
The first target of conventional treatment is to reduce bronchoconstriction, inflammation, and mucus production. Further medicines are given to prevent future attacks of asthma. Commonly prescribed conventional medicines are in the form of inhalers and oral medications. Here are some of them.
- Beta-agonists inhalers: Salmeterol, formoterol, albuterol, levalbuterol, etc.
- Corticosteroids inhalers: Fluticasone, budesonide, flunisolide, ciclesonide, beclomethasone, mometasone, etc.
- Bronchodilator: Like Theophylline
- Oral Leukotriene modifiers: Montelukast, zafirlukast, zileuton, etc.
- Oral and intravenous corticosteroids: Prednisone, methylprednisolone, etc.
These conventional medicines are habit-forming and have side-effects when used for a long period.
Our Experience In Treating Asthma At Life Force:
Dr. Rajesh Shah, M.D.(Hom.) has been treating patients of asthma along with other chronic diseases since 1985. His extensive research in the field of homeopathy and research-based protocol for the treatment of asthma has changed the prognosis of Asthma and helped several patients from over 180 countries globally.
As per our experience at Life Force, homeopathy works wonders for asthma patients of all age-groups with different presentations. As per the medical studies, patients who are on homeopathic medicines enjoy a much better life than those who are not on homeopathy. With homeopathic treatment, we can achieve the attack-free phase for a long time in asthma patients. Homeopathy can be used along with conventional medicines, if needed, for an acute attack of asthma. Regular use of homeopathic medicines not only reduces the frequency, intensity, and duration of the symptoms, but it also reduces the dependency on conventional treatment, such as inhaler and corticosteroids. Homeopathy is highly beneficial in treating child asthma, as it is safe, non-toxic, and non-habit-forming.