Asthma Treatments

Many asthmatics are aware of the standard drugs available for the treatment of asthma. Initially the medication may seem like a godsend but as the years roll on the body builds up a resistance to it and without realising, the once a week need for the drug has increased to at least four times a day. Then one day when one of the worst attacks hits and the drug fails to achieve its desired purpose, a rapid bee-line for the doctor brings to light your body's resistance to the drug and a prescription for something much stronger. And so the cycle begins again. However, this need not be the case, but only if you're willing to use a bit of effort, will power and yes, money.

Expiratory Flow Rate

Firstly, purchase a peak flow meter if one doesn't already reside in your house. During an asthma attack measure and record your peak expiratory flow before, then after taking medication. Many times you may feel the need for medication but your body will actually recover without it. Identify the value midway between your best and worst expiratory flow. The next time an attack occurs grab the peak flow meter before the medication, and if you blow above that midpoint value hold off on the medication, try to remain calm, transfer your attention to something else, breathe correctly and check back on the asthma in an hour. If you blow below the midpoint value then it's likely your body does require the medication.

Take a deep breath

Correct breathing will ensure your body is receiving enough oxygen and will help calm and reduce the need for medication. Asthmatics have shallow breathing and lift their chest and shoulders in the process to assist their lungs, but need to learn to breathe deeper. Place a hand on your stomach and try to only move that while keeping your shoulders and chest still while you breathe. In case you think this is a little crazy, it's the way singers breathe. It's not easy, but patience and practice will be the only way to overcome virtually a lifetime of incorrect breathing.

Allergy Specialist

Since many asthma attacks are triggered by allergies, visiting an allergy specialist to identify those allergies can be extremely beneficial. The specialist will present options to minimise exposure to the offending substances and will offer a program of immunotherapy. Briefly, immunotherapy involves receiving injections of the allergen in very tiny amounts at first then gradually in higher doses as the body builds up a tolerance. It isn't cheap and takes around two to three years to complete but the results last a lifetime. So think long term.

Vitamin A - Zinc

Vitamin and mineral supplements are readily available, although many people may insist that they are not deficient. Magnesium plays a role as a bronchodilator and appears to have anti inflammatory properties. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to help reduce inflammation and can naturally be found in oily fish such as tuna and salmon. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and is used by the immune system. Vitamin A is beneficial for healthy mucus membranes and the B vitamins are required in energy production and immunity. Zinc is also helpful in regards to immune function.

There's hope

You may have been diagnosed with asthma but you need not suffer from it. The ideas presented here will not allow you to throw away the medication but the need for it four times a day will likely decrease to once a week, once a month or even once a year. But don't expect instant results. Think long term.

Firshein, Richard N, D.O. Reversing Asthma, Warner Books 1996
Personal Experience

In 2000, asthma attacks resulted in more than 700,000 ER visits and more than 200,000 hospitalizations in patients under age 18. ER and hospitalization rates were highest among children 4 years of age and younger, despite improvements in currently available asthma treatments.

In a study presented at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual meeting, researchers found that children with asthma who were given an inhaled corticosteroid through a device called a nebulizer experienced a 43 percent reduction in risk of returning to the ER or being admitted to a hospital. The nebulizer converts asthma medication into a breathable mist. When inhaled correctly, the nebulized medication has a better chance to effectively reach the small airways of the lung and therefore increase the medicine's effectiveness.

"Parents of children experiencing asthma attacks often rush their children to the emergency room as much as four or five times a year," said Dr. Carlos Camargo, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and principal investigator in the study. "These parents should speak to their regular pediatrician, family physician or asthma specialist about the medication that is right for their child, such as a nebulized inhaled corticosteroid."

The study showed that treatment with a nebulized inhaled corticosteroid after an asthma exacerbation is associated with a reduction in the need to seek ER or hospital treatment.

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