Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory system characterized by bronchial hype-responsiveness, episodic exacerbation (asthma attacks), and reversible airflow obstruction. Normally, with every breath takes, air goes through the nose or mouth and down into the throat and into the airways, eventually making it to the lungs. There are lots of small air passages in the lungs that help deliver oxygen from the air into the bloodstream. Asthma symptoms occur when the lining of your airways swell and the muscles around them tighten. Mucus then fills the airways, further reducing the amount of air that can pass through. These conditions can then bring on an asthma “attack,” the coughing and tightness in the chest that’s typical of asthma.
Sign and symptoms of asthma
- Coughing: In a healthy person coughing is a protecting step of the respiratory system not to allow entry of any outside substances into the lungs by clearing it out from the air passages. In asthmatic condition the air ways are swollen that the body thinks of any outer substance stick on it so try to expel out and produce cough. The more he coughs the more bronchial spasm occurs and the discomfort is felt more.
- Wheezing or whistling sound: the wheezing sound or whistling sound is produced when the air ways is narrowed due to swelling of inner mucosal lining in addition to secretion of mucus in it and in that narrow tube when the air is passed it creates a whistling or wheezing sound.
- Chest tightness: chest tightness frequently occurs in asthmatic condition. In asthmatic condition as the inner mucous layer of the bronchus get inflamed due to allergens that causes tightness feeling in chest. Besides that, the tightening of smooth muscles around the airways also causes tightness of chest
- Shortness of breath: The shortness of breath means difficulties in full breathing. The shortness of breath is the common and major symptom of asthma. The patient may express of breathless or suffocation or gasping for breathes to describe the shortness of breath. The shortness of breath occurs due to airways inflammation and restriction of space for free flow of air during respiration.
- Trouble in sleeping: The asthma is generally worsening during night time it is because in night time the air ways remain cool and can’t be warm of that’s why during night it get worse. Another cause is the lying posture itself does not make the lungs to breath comfortably. Another cause is at night the allergens exposure are more so asthmatic peoples face difficulties in sleep at night time.
- Rapid breathing with chest retraction
- Rapid movement of nostrils
- Increased heart beats
- Chest and stomach moving in and out deeply and rapidly.
- There is cyanosis in case of acute asthmatic condition
Triggers factors for asthma
- Foreign proteins or antigens: Numerous foreign substances are present in the atmospheres which are called allergens or antigens. Those allergens when enter inside the body of a person having asthmatic susceptibility creates allergic inflammatory reaction in the bronchial passages that causes constriction of bronchial tubes and results asthma. Asthma is a common health problem in these days not only in urban areas but also in rural areas too. The allergens or antigens though are harmless for a healthy person but harmful for asthmatic person. The air allergens like pollens, dust mites, pet dander, molds create allergic reaction in those people whose immune system is hypersensitive to those allergens. Similarly, some proteins found in various food stuffs like pea nut, egg, milk, crab, wheat that also triggers the asthmatic condition in many people.
- Infection: Some viral infection like flu, influenza leads to bronchial asthma in some hypersensitive individual. After getting attack with flu that sometimes lead to asthmatic condition afterwards. It occurs in those people who are very sensitive to cold. Similarly taking of cold drinks or ice-cream in cold weather sometimes triggers asthmatic problems in some sensitized individual. Some persons who regularly do work in a closed air-conditioned room sometimes develop asthmatic condition in a long-term period. People works in air condition room developed asthma generally due to temperature variation inside and outside office.
- Change of weather: When season change occurs, some individual gets asthmatic attack. Here the season is not responsible for asthma trigger but in that season many flower pollens are floated in the air and the persons who are allergic to those pollens get the asthmatic attack. In spring season generally, the allergic symptoms like sneezing, stuffy nose, nasal discharge are more found not only in asthmatic susceptible person but even non asthmatic person too. Cold weather and thunder storm also provokes the asthmatic attack in many people. It is generally occurring in those people who have exercise induced asthmatic problem. So, in cold weather when an asthmatic sensitized person practices the exercise the breathing is too rapid it can’t get time to warm up inside body and that ignites asthmatic symptoms.
- Change of place: The climacteric condition also impacts upon asthmatic patient. The change of climate, humid atmosphere, and cloudy weather can irritate the airways. When the temperature changes in the airways it initiates the inflammatory condition in the mucosal lining of bronchus that causes mucosal thickening and narrowing of air tubes and the asthma symptoms appear. Similarly, the peoples who are living in urban areas are more prone to asthmatic condition than village area because of more exposure to pollution, chemicals, smokes in urban areas than village areas.
- Occupational asthma: occupational asthma or industrial asthma is termed as work-related asthma caused by working in industries whose toxic by-product develop the asthmatic condition in a healthy person. There are many industries like petroleum or chemical industries, plastic industries, paint industries who uses various toxic chemical as their raw material and the fumes or gas emerges out from there irritates the respiratory tubes and causes the inflammation of the airways and result of asthmatic symptoms. There are many harmful gases sulphur dioxide, ammonia, hydrochloric acid which is generally found in petroleum or chemical industries. The workers of paint industry, plastic industry exposes to various chemicals that triggers asthmatic condition. Peoples who are working in stone cutting industries also get asthmatic problem.
- Emotional factors: the emotional or psychological factors also induce asthmatic problem in many individuals. The stress and anxiety condition sometimes provoke the asthmatic condition. It does not create asthma in a non-asthmatic person, but those who have the past history of allergic tendency or asthmatic back ground creates asthma when being in a stressful situation. There are some major stressful conditions like financial breakdown, relationship disturbances, lack of social support, pressure packed schedule can ignite the asthmatic condition. Actually, in stressful condition your body releases some chemicals like histamines and leukotrienes, which triggers for narrowing of the airway. Another factor is the stress related hormones reduce the body’s ability to fight cold, so the person easily gets the asthma problem. To cope this condition, it is required to take medication before attempting to any such situation. There are other ways too to reduce the stress level like daily practice of physical exercise, breathing exercise, pranayam, relaxing exercise, listening your favourite music, going for a good sleep etc.
- Hormonal variation and asthma: hormonal variation that initiates asthma generally occur in female case. The female hormone estrogen is responsible for developing asthmatic condition. The decrease of estrogen level does not responsible for initiation of asthma but the fluctuation of estrogen level causes the asthma. The fluctuation of estrogen hormone activates some proteins like things that cause inflammation of respiratory tubes. Before menstrual cycle the estrogen level is very minimal so some women get asthmatic problem during that period. Similarly, during pregnancy also some experience the asthmatic symptoms because of that reason. During menopause period the estrogen level reduces drastically and some women who have the allergic body constitution typed develop asthmatic condition.
- Eczema and asthma: eczema is one type of skin diseases that manifests with the symptoms of itching skin with red patchy spots and sometimes oozes fluids after itching. The relationship between eczema and asthma is still under the research. But some hypothesis tells that in eczematic person’s skin is lack of proper skin barrier so that the allergens get inside the body and starts irritating the bronchial airways. There is another study that show that the person with eczema have some genetically lacking one protein in skin that supposed to be used for maintaining barrier property of skin from the external invaders. So, person of eczematic history are prone to get the allergic or asthma problem.
- GERD and asthma: The GERD otherwise called as gastro oesophageal reflux disorder or acid reflux. In GERD the stomach acid content goes upward into the esophagus and causes irritation. Actually, the stomach acid content can’t enter inside the esophagus due to the presence of lower esophageal sphincter that act like a tight ring which prevents the upward flow of stomach content. Some people who have a loose esophageal sphincter like in hiatus hernia cause the upward rush of acidic gastric content into esophagus. The GERD patients are more prone to get the asthmatic condition. It is because the acidic content of the stomach when get into the esophagus also irritates the respiratory airways that causes to develop asthmatic symptoms because of inflammation of airways lining. Another cause of GERD associated asthma is the gastric content stimulates the nerves in esophagus that constricts the airways so the person feels shortness of breath and tightness of chest.
- Children, especially during their early childhood, are at a higher risk of developing it. Someone with a family history of asthma.
- Associated history of pneumonia or bronchitis increases the risk.
- Person with a weak immune system.
- People exposed to environmental pollution or those living around farms
- Active or passive smokers.
- Obese People
- Presence of any other allergic conditions.
- Some other conditions that can cause a cough, include bronchitis, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorders), blood pressure medication in adults, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), post nasal drip, etc.
- Personal and medical history: The doctor will ask the questions to understand the symptoms and their causes. Be ready to answer questions about the family history, the medicines have taken and the lifestyle. This includes any current physical problems. Shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest may show asthma. This also includes all previous medical conditions. A history of allergies or eczema increases the chance of asthma. A family history of asthma, allergies or eczema increases the chance of having asthma, too.
- Physical exam: They will do a physical exam. They will look at ears, eyes, nose, throat, skin, chest and lungs. This exam may include a lung function test to detect how well the exhale air from the lungs. Need an X-ray of the lungs or sinuses.
- Lung function tests: To confirm asthma, the doctor may have taken one or more breathing tests known as lung function tests. These tests measure the breathing. Lung function tests are often done before and after inhaling a medicine known as a bronchodilator, which opens the airways. If the lung function improves a lot with use of a bronchodilator, probably have asthma. Doctor may also prescribe a trial with asthma medicine to see if it helps. Common lung function tests used to diagnose asthma include:
- Peak airflow
- FeNO tests (exhaled nitric oxide)
- Provocation tests
Homeopathic treatment for asthma is successful in treating Asthma. Homeopathy treatment is safe and free from side-effects. Homeopathy offers a holistic treatment as it goes to the root of the problem and treats the source. Recurrence of asthmatic attacks is a major discomfort for patients. Homeopathic medicines thus are literally a breath of fresh air for asthmatic patients, resulting in relief The Homeopathic medicines are prescribed after taking note of symptoms and the mental and physical profile of each patient. The Homeopathic treatment can completely root out Asthma, though it may take time before desirable results are achieved.
Dry teasing cough that worse during the winter season or exposing to cold air. Cold exposure that causes wheezing sound and bronchial spasm. It is generally given in acute asthmatic condition when the person is coughing with wheezing sound. There is tightness or constriction sensation of chest. The person is very restless and fearful from this asthmatic situation. Giving this medicine in repeated interval can relief the cough and wheezing sound along with tightness of chest.
Asthma with wheezing sounds. Tightness of chest, difficulties in breathing is associated with asthma. The person feels more of chest tightness and breathlessness on lying posture. He feels kittle relief on sitting posture with slight bending forwards. There is restlessness feeling and anxieties associated with asthma. The mouth feels dry and wants to drink water but very little at a time.
Allergic asthma. The asthma result from allergic origin like exposure to dust, pollens, pet dander etc. there is runny nose with watery nasal discharge. Burning of nose and eyes with water discharge occur before the asthma start. There is swelling of nasal turbinate due to allergic cause. Red congested eyes, burning corroding nasal discharge. Stoppage of nose. It is generally given asthma of allergic origin.
This is generally prescribed as constitutional remedy for asthma. The person is hypersensitive to cold. On little exposure to cold he gets allergic sneezing, nasal discharge, cough that leads to asthmatic problem. There is constriction sensation in chest with suffocative feeling due to bronchial spasm. The cough and wheezing are more in night time. The person may have hereditary condition of asthma.
This is generally given in mother tincture form or in lower potency to control the acute attack of asthma. The wheezing sound and chest tightness is relieved by taking the medicines in material dose. In acute attack the medicines can be repeated frequently to relieve the symptoms of chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
There is blockage of nose especially in children and the child wakes of with feeling of suffocation. There is tightness of chest and pressure in stomach, and nausea, severe suffocative cough at about midnight, with crying and difficulties in breathing. Snuffles of infants; nose dry and obstructed. When nursing nose get blocked up, cannot breathe. Child awakes suddenly in night with suffocating feeling, sits up, face turns blue. It is also prescribing in industrial asthmatic disorder.
It is the constitutional remedy generally given to asthmatic patient. The person is slightly obese with lack of physical activities. There is profuse sweating from the head or other parts of the body on slightest physical exertion. The person cannot tolerate heat wants open air but the open air does not suit. The child has a tendency to catch cold easily. Generally, the allergic condition leads to asthmatic complain in latter part.
Coughing spasms that lead to retching or vomiting strongly indicate this remedy. Wheezing can come on suddenly with a feeling of suffocation and heaviness in the chest. Mucus collects in breathing tubes, but the person has difficulty coughing much out. The person may sweat a lot and feel clammy or nauseous, be worse from motion, and sometimes worse from warmth.
Wheezing that starts when a person gets too warm (especially in a stuffy room), or after eating rich food, can indicate this remedy. Coughing brings up yellow-colored mucus, with gagging and choking. Tightness in the chest tends to be worse in the evening and at night, and is relieved by cool fresh air. A person who needs this remedy is likely to be changeable and emotional, wanting a lot of attention and comforting.
A hard or “barking” cough during an asthma attack is a strong indication for this remedy. Breathing can be labored, with a sawing sound, and not much mucus is produced. The person may feel best when sitting up and tilting the head back, or when leaning forward. Warm drinks may be helpful. The problems often start while the person is asleep (typically before midnight). Spongia is often used in croup, as well.
Asthma with a dry, hard, irritating cough that starts after being exposed to moving air, or after becoming overexcited and angry, may be helped with this remedy. The cough is often worse around nine p.m., and may continue into the night. The person seems hypersensitive and may be extremely irritable and agitated. Children may even shriek and hit, though they often calm down if someone carries them.
Indications for this remedy include a tense, constricted feeling in the chest during asthma attacks, with pressure in the stomach. Problems are often worse in the morning. Overindulgence in stimulants, alcohol, sweets, or strong spicy food can bring on or aggravate an episode. Both physical effort and mental exertion can make things worse, and warmth and sleep often bring relief. A person needing this remedy is typically very irritable and impatient, with a general feeling of chilliness.
This remedy is sometimes indicated when asthma attacks are brought on by exposure to mold and dampness. The person may hold the chest while coughing, because it feels so weak. Wheezing and breathing difficulties are aggravated by exertion, and episodes tend to be worse in the very early morning.
Mephitis is a frequently used homeopathic medicine for cough variant asthma with dry and spasmodic coughs. The episodes of a cough are suffocative and worse at night. The spells of a dry cough are so severe and violent that it seems as if will it be life-threatening. There is a hollow cough with rawness and pain in the chest. There may be vomiting with a cough (especially after eating). There is vomiting immediately or a few hours after eating. Hoarseness and rattling of mucus with a cough, difficulty breathing at night (the individual has to sit up in bed to breathe), and difficulty in exhaling are other symptoms. The triggering factors of a cough are talking, reading loudly or drinking ice or cold water. The remedy is also indicated in cases where one has frequent episodes of flu or fever along with the cough variant asthma.
It is a well-indicated homeopathic medicine for asthma accompanied with cough and rattling of mucus in the chest. The airways seem overloaded with mucus. The chest is intensely congested with great rattling of mucus. Cough is present all the time, without any expulsion of sputa. Shortness of breath and a sensation of suffocation may be present.
It is the best prescription for loose, rattling asthmatic cough in damp weather where the person has to cough a long time to expel phlegm.
It is selected when there is cough with the rattling of mucus, suffocation, and difficulty in breathing after exposure to dust.
It is indicated where cough with much suffocation and strangling sensation in the throat predominates. Coccus Cacti also works well for a spasmodic cough that ends in vomiting.
It is indicated where there is dry and highly irritating cough. The paroxysms of cough follow each other rapidly. Talking may worsen the cough. Rough, scraping sensation in the throat may attend along with a nocturnal cough.