Asthma: Facts, causes, treatment and prevention

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What is Asthma?

Asthma is defined as a chronic inflammatory condition of the lungs that may affect people of all age groups. There is no complete cure for the condition and treatment is mainly aimed at correcting the symptoms and avoiding the triggering agents.


Causes of Asthma

The causes of asthma are not completely understood. Asthma cannot be cured, but appropriate management can control the disorder and enable people to enjoy a good quality of life.


Treatment of asthma has two aspects: management of acute attacks and long-term control or prevention. Conventional treatments are sometimes the best choices for acute attacks, where immediate relief can be a life-and-death matter.


Facts about Asthma

The most common chronic disease among children, it currently affects 235 million people.

Symptoms may occur several times in a day or week in affected individuals.

Failure to recognise and avoid triggers that lead to a tightened airway can be life threatening and may result in an asthma attack, respiratory distress and even death.

Through appropriate treatment the number of asthma related deaths can be reduced.

The strongest risk factors for developing asthma are exposure to indoor allergens such as house dust mites in bedding, carpets and stuffed furniture; pollution and pet dander; outdoor allergens such as pollens and moulds; tobacco smoke and chemical irritants in the workplace.

Asthma triggers can include cold air, extreme emotional arousal such as anger or fear, and physical exercise.


Alternative treatments for Asthma

Asthma sufferers may lessen their need for chemical treatments prescription medications (steroids) and inhalers through lifestyle and dietary changes and nutritional supplements.


Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke, indoor and outdoor pollution, and common allergens such as dust.


Avoid food additives and processed foods. The diet should emphasise whole, organic foods as much as possible. Avoid artificial food additives, flavourings, and sweeteners; fried foods; and pork.


Avoid nitrates/nitrites and sulphites. Many asthma patients are sensitive to these substances and should avoid foods containing such additives. This may include deli meats and cheeses, hot dogs, bacon, wine and beer.


Include a balance of aerobic exercise, resistance training, and stretching or yoga in your workout routine. Try to avoid exercising in cold, dry air, and always warm up with at least 10 minutes of lower-intensity exercise.


Supplement with Omega-3s. Fish oil and flaxseed oil, both excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, may help decrease inflammation.


Get plenty of antioxidants through diet or supplements. They decrease free radical activity, which tends to stimulate inflammation.


Long term control and prevention for Asthma

Decrease protein to 10 percent of daily caloric intake. Replace animal protein as much as possible with plant protein
Eliminate milk and milk products, substituting other calcium sources.


Eliminate polyunsaturated vegetable oils, margarine, vegetable shortening, all partially hydrogenated oils that might contain trans-fatty acids, and all foods that might contain trans-fatty acids (such as deep-fried foods).


Use extra-virgin olive oil as your main fat.


Increase intake of Omega-3 fatty acids.


Always drink plenty of water to keep your respiratory tract secretions more fluid.


Eat ginger and turmeric regularly for their anti-inflammatory effects.



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