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  • Natalie Rogers, HHP

Asthma: What Is It and What Could Help?


Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition which I am quite familiar with as all of my immediate family members suffer from this condition. Asthma is definitely something that I take very seriously, and although holistic modalities can be helpful with this condition, I feel that it is not 100% effective all of the time. So it is always advised to continue keeping an emergency rescue inhaler on you and any medications that your medical doctor has prescribed for you to use.

Asthma can be a very dangerous thing when the right conditions are happening. According to Dorene Petersen, author of our NAT 211 Anatomy & Physiology II text book, more than twenty five million people in America are affected by asthma, which includes around seven million children that are under the age of eighteen. (Petersen, 2016) Someone who suffers from asthma is having an increase in the mucus production in the bronchial tubes. When this happens, the mucous membranes along the bronchial tubes can become inflamed and swell which causes it to become harder to breathe.


This can be triggered by a variety of things such as physical or emotional stress, pollution in the air, fumes, weather changes, as well as physical activity. (Petersen, 2016) Think of it this way, image you are breathing quite normally. You are able to inhale and exhale and take full breaths and your lungs expand with fresh air and you can exhale fully. Now imagine trying to breathe through a small tube. You are now no longer to take those full deep breaths. It becomes harder and you are taking in less amounts of air in a longer period of time. This is how it feels to suffer from what is called an asthma attack. Symptoms of having an asthma attack include difficulty to breathe, coughing, wheezing, feeling like you are suffocating, a tight feeling in the chest, and violent coughing. (Petersen, 2016). In allopathic medicine, doctors prescribe bronchodilators to a patient who is diagnosed with asthma. They can also be prescribed anti-inflammatories to help reduce the inflammation of the bronchial tubes. ("ASTHMA:", 2017)


From a holistic viewpoint, a practitioner would look into the client’s nutrition intake and check for any food allergens which could be a trigger for an asthmatic person. Foods that are high in manganese such as green leafy vegetables, grapefruit, apricots, kelp, egg yolk, parsley, peppermint, strawberry leaves, and nasturtium can be beneficial. A good amount of antioxidants can also be beneficial in helping to manage asthma. Some of the botanicals which could help which include bronchodilators, antispasmodics, and expectorants include the use of anise seed (P. anisum), lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis), valerian (V. officinalis), and nettle (U. dioica). Some people have luck with using essential oils massaged with a carrier oil onto the chest such as peppermint (Mentha piperita) and thyme (T. vulgaris). (Petersen, 2016)


Suffering from asthma can be a challenge to adjust to as you might need to adjust your lifestyle or the things around you. This is just one of many conditions which can affect the respiratory system. Before trying any holistic modalities to help manage your asthma symptoms, always speak to a medical professional first. And it is always advised to keep your emergency rescue medications with you. This can make the difference between life and death and I personally would not want to risk that.

References

  1. ASTHMA:. (2017). Enhs.umn.edu. Retrieved 7 April 2017, from http://enhs.umn.edu/current/5200/asthma/overview.htm

  2. Petersen, D. (2016). NAT 211 Anatomy & Physiology II (1st ed., pp. 261-290). Portland: The American College of Healthcare Sciences.

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