Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways. The airways are the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. The cause of asthma is not fully understood. It is partly an allergic condition. There is also a genetic connection between asthma, hay fever and eczema. Asthma is characterized by paroxysmal narrowing of the bronchial airways due to inflammation of the bronchi and contraction of the bronchial smooth muscle. This causes symptoms like wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing, especially at night and in the early morning. When your asthma symptoms become worse than usual, it is called an asthma episode or attack. During an asthma attack, muscles around the airways tighten up, making the airways narrower so less air flows through. The symptoms of asthma, which can range from mild to life threatening, can usually be controlled with a combination of drugs and environmental changes. Asthma may be very mild, or it can be very severe. Most cases are somewhere in between. Even if your asthma is mild, you should visit the GP regularly to have it monitored. People can die from severe asthma attacks.
Asthma can arise at any age, but why some people have the disease and others don't is not known. People with asthma have airways that are more sensitive than normal. Many people with asthma have problems only occasionally but others struggle with it every day. Some people have asthma only when they exercise or have a viral infection. Modern medicines control and relieve symptoms and so attacks may only last a few hours or minutes, but without treatment this may go on for several days. Asthma runs in some families, but many people with asthma have no other family members affected. Patients with mild acute asthma are able to lie flat. In more severe cases, the patient assumes a sitting position. As the severity increases, the patient increasingly assumes a hunched-over sitting position with the hands supporting the torso, termed the tripod position. Exposure to various allergens and irritants may trigger your asthma symptoms. Asthma is treated with two kinds of medicines: quick-relief medicines to stop asthma symptoms and long-term control medicines to prevent symptoms.
Prevention of Asthma
- The best way to prevent asthma attacks is to identify and avoid indoor and outdoor allergens and irritants.
- Use medicines as directed by your doctor to prevent or stop attacks.
- Get regular checkups from your doctor.
- Protect the body with warm clothing in chilly weather.
- Clean the house at least once a week and wear a mask while doing it.
Home Remedies for Asthma
- Honey is one of the most common home remedies for asthma.
- Dry figs help clear mucus from bronchial tubes and are therefore a valuable food remedy for asthma.
- Garlic is another effective home remedy for asthma.
- Lemon is another fruit found beneficial in the treatment of asthma. The juice of one lemon, diluted in a glass of water and taken with meals, will bring good results.
- A soup prepared from drumstick leaves, and taken once daily, has been found beneficial in the treatment of asthma.
- Indian gooseberry has also proved valuable in asthma. Five grams of gooseberry mixed with one tablespoon of honey forms an effective medicinal tonic for the treatment of this disease.
- Gur mixed with equal quantity of mustard oil taken for 21 days gives almost permanent relief.
- Pipal, amla and sonth are taken in equal quantities crushed in the form of churana and taken with honey, mishri (sugar candy) and ghee give good results in mild attacks.