Even if you don’t have asthma, having knowledge about it can help someone you know or who you may run into some day.
Did you know that asthma is a disorder of the bronchial airways with no known cure? The airways react to certain types of stimulus by swelling and narrowing along with producing excessive mucus. It is the most chronic disease among children and some of these children experienced improvements as they aged. The highest percentage of deaths occur in adults over 65 years of age. Severe attacks, if left untreated, can also cause death.
There are four classifications for asthma:
• Mild Intermittent (1-2 days/wk)
• Mild Persistent (+2 days a week)
• Moderate Persistent (daily+night)
• Severe Persistent (throughout the day and frequent nights)
Risk factors for developing asthma can be genetics (parent or sibling), allergies or an allergic condition – especially hay fever (allergic rhinitis) – being overweight, smoking or being around second-hand smoke, high levels of air pollution, household chemical irritants, molds or dust mites and occupational chemicals (farming, hairdressers, mfg.).
• Exercise, especially in cold air
• Emotional stress
• Air pollution
• Cigarette smoke
• Seasonal allergies, pollen
• Pet dander
• Exposure to airborne chemicals
• Viruses such as cold and flu
• Sensitivities to food preservatives such as sulfites
• Acid reflux (GERD)
• Medications such as beta-blockers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen)
There are several treatments that help in controlling or minimizing the attacks through medications and/or high quality nutritional supplements. Supplements should not be removed from their choices as they can improve the quality of the person’s life.
• Inhaled Corticosteroids – The inhaled options have a much lower risk of side effects and are generally safe for long time usage vs oral options. Examples: Flonase, Flovent HFA, Pulmicort Flexhaler, Rhinocort, etc. Leukotriene Modifiers – These are uncommon and control attacks for about 24 hours. Side effects include depression, aggression, agitation, anxiety, hallucinations and suicide. Examples: Singulair, Accolade, Zyflo.
• Long Lasting Beta Agonists – These can increase the risk of a severe attack which is why they are used in combination with inhaled corticosteroids. Examples: Serevent, Fordil, Perforomist.
• Combination Inhalers – Mentioned above, examples include Advair Diskus, Symbicort, Dulera.
• Magnesium and Vitamin D deficiencies are associated with increased incidence in asthma attacks as well as an increase in the severity of attack.
• Omega 3 (DHA & EPA) are associated with reduced incidences (frequency and severity) of attacks. It exerts specific anti-inflammatory effects, including a reduction of eosinophils, specific white blood cells seen in allergies and asthma.
• Antioxidants, besides A, C, & E, such as grape seed extract, resveratrol, curcumin, quercetin, green tea extract and many others are all associated with improved lung function in human and animal testing. Example: Gamma tocopherol is a sub-type of vitamin E. It has been shown to reduce the inflammatory response and help maintain asthma remission.
The nutritional information above is only a sample of the spectrum of supplementation that has shown sound benefits to those suffering from asthma. To learn more about a doctor’s recommended protocols send me an email with ASTHMA in the subject.
Here’s to Health