Treat Asthma Naturally
by Amanda Box, N.D.
I can’t think of anything more frightening than not being able to breathe Yet for millions of Americans, the nightmare of gasping for breath is their reality.
I just recently witnessed my friends lose their precious little boy to this dreadful disease. I can attest first-hand that asthma not only devastates lungs, but breaks hearts.
Asthma has grown to epidemic proportions. Today, 1 in 12 people suffer with asthma and the numbers continue to grow each year. Why, in a time of increased technology and improved medical practices would a disease be far more prevalent than it was 100 years ago? Though no one knows the exact answer, I suspect that some of our technological advances hurt, rather than help, the human body. Chemicals and fumes that didn’t exist hundreds of years ago now saturate the air we breathe. Our internal balance becomes compromised when we venture too far from nature.. Sadly, the result of imbalance is often disease. And for millions, that disease is asthma.
What is Asthma?
Asthma can occur at any age. Just because you didn’t have asthma as a child, doesn’t mean you won’t contract it as an adult. In fact, adult onset asthma is on the rise. Many people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond are finding themselves in the doctor’s office complaining of breathing difficulties. Adult onset asthma is often associated with a faster decline of lung function and more severe symptoms than child onset asthma. If you find yourself experiencing any of these symptoms, I recommend seeing a physician about the possibility of asthma.
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness, pressure, or pain
- Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
- A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
- Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
- Dry cough at night or when exposed to particular triggers
- Colds that are respiratory in nature and last longer than 10 days
- Shortness of breath after exercise or exposure to cold air
Before the onset of puberty, more males are diagnosed with asthma than females. Conversely, females are more often diagnosed with asthma as adults. This results from fluctuations in female hormones that can play a significant role in adult onset asthma. Researchers believe it is specifically due to drops in the hormone progesterone.
Some of the most common contributors to adult onset asthma include:
- Pregnancy and menopause
- Hormone replacement therapy and birth control pills
- Exposure to viruses and bacteria, especially those that affect the respiratory tract
- Allergies, both food and environmental
- Exposure to dust, mold, and chemical scents like perfumes
However, even with the growing rate of adult onset asthma, 80% of those with asthma experienced their first attack before 6 years of age. Some people show great improvements with their asthma symptoms as they mature into adulthood. For others, symptoms disappear for years, only to see them return in later adulthood. But for others, asthma begins in early childhood and remains a thorn in their side their entire life.
Child onset asthma is often caused by:
- Genetic predispositions
- Exposure to mold (black mold specifically)
- Secondhand smoke exposure
- Viral and bacterial respiratory infections
Research concludes that there may be another possible cause of asthma: antibiotics. Antibiotics are frequently prescribed to infants and toddlers for everything from ear infections to strep throat. In some cases, like strep throat, antibiotics are necessary and help heal and prevent the spread of these harmful bacteria. However, antibiotics have been over-prescribed and often used when unnecessary. This has contributed to a rise in antibiotic resistant superbugs, which are extremely hard to treat.
Superbugs aren’t the only result of overuse of antibiotics. One of the most recent studies observing the connection between antibiotic use and asthma analyzed data from 62,576 children ages 7 years and younger. It included 26,693 who had taken at least one round of antibiotics before the age of 1. By 3 years of age, 18% had developed wheezing or asthma!
Unnecessary use of antibiotics lowers immunity by disturbing the natural bacterial balance in the body. It wasn’t until recently that mainstream medicine began to back off from over-prescribing antibiotics. Many times when parents take their children into the doctor, they expect to walk out with a prescription, whether the illness is bacterial or not. I was one of those kids and was on round after round of antibiotics most of my toddler years. I have suffered extreme gut issues because of the damage that antibiotics caused. Luckily, I didn’t develop asthma, but millions of children do every year. It is always best to use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary and to always follow every round with a month’s worth of probiotic supplements to replenish healthy bacteria stores.
Reducing Asthma Attacks
Avoiding asthmatic triggers is the best way to avoid asthma attacks. Although this is always easier said than done. Environmental allergy triggers can’t always be avoided. You can’t always choose the air you breath. Something as minor as someone’s perfume may send you into an asthma attack.
Try to always be aware of your surroundings and don’t be afraid to voice your concerns. Let your friends and family know what triggers your asthma so they can make the appropriate accommodations. There is no shame in being honest and open with others about what triggers your asthma! They’ll be relieved that you told them as no one wants to cause harm to someone they care about!
One of the largest contributors to asthma attacks is
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