Asthma is a chronic lung disease that is marked by narrowing and inflammation in the airways. The condition causes recurring periods of symptoms that include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest. It often starts in childhood, but it affects people of all ages and adults can suddenly experience an attack. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAI), approximately one in 12 people in the United States has asthma – and that number is growing each year.
Causes of Asthma
Doctors do not know why some people have this condition while others do not. Research suggests that genetics, environmental factors, or a combination of the two likely play some part in it.
There are certain substances and irritants that can trigger an attack. These are often the same triggers for allergies since asthma and allergies often go hand in hand. Triggers usually vary from person to person but some of the more common ones include:
- Cold air
- Stress and strong emotions.
- Airborne substances – Particles of cockroach waste, pollen, mold spores, dust mites, and pet dander.
- Certain medications – Naproxen, beta blockers, ibuprofen, and aspirin.
- Physical activity – Exercise or physical labor.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Respiratory infections – Allergies, cold, and bronchitis.
- Air pollutants and irritants -Perfume, smoke, and air fresheners.
- Additives in some foods – Preservatives, sulfites, additives added to processed potatoes, shrimp, beer, dried fruit, and wine.
Treatments for Asthma
Prevention of asthma attacks has proven to be the most effective method for managing asthma. It is important for patients to learn to recognize their triggers so they can avoid them. If known to them they can take steps to minimize the attack. This involves tracking your breathing to ensure that your medication is adequately keeping symptoms at bay. However, most asthmatics carry a quick-relief inhaler for emergencies because sometimes prevention is not enough.
There are two types of asthma control medications: long term and quick relief. The most common medications for each type include:
- Combination inhalers
- Inhaled corticosteroids
- Long-acting beta agonists
- Leukotriene modifiers
- Quick relief
- Short-acting beta agonists
- Oral and intravenous corticosteroids
Allergy medications are an effective asthma treatment. Immunotherapy, or allergy shots, can lead to a decreased immune response to allergens. It can take a while for this to build up so the patient could be waiting for a long time. Omalizuman, or Xolair, is also an injection that is specifically for people with severe allergies or asthma
Chiropractic for Asthma
Regular chiropractic care can be very effective in treating breathing problems. In fact, some studies have shown that it is effective on adult asthma as well as children.
One primary reason is because poor spinal health can contribute to an asthmatic condition. When the body is out of alignment and it puts pressure on the sensitive nerves along the spinal column it can cause serious health problems throughout the body.
Chiropractic’s approach to whole body wellness, coupled with good spinal health and you have a treatment that works.
The chiropractor may also make recommendations to the patient regarding certain lifestyle changes like advising them to stop smoking. He or she may also recommend certain foods that lower the amount of inflammation in the body and to reduce their contact with things in their environment that may be asthma triggers.
They will work with the patient to create a plan that will strengthen the immune system, minimize allergic responses, and decrease the instances of attacks so that the patient can live a full, quality life.