World Asthma Day is held on May 3. It is an annual event organised by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve asthma awareness and care around the world.
If you notice that you fall short of breath, breathe with a whistling sound in the chest, or have trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath; you may be suffering from asthma. Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways. Asthma can occur at any age but children and young adults are commonly affected.
Asthma may affect as many as 334 million people today and prevalence is rising. The rise in the number of asthma cases can be blamed on sedentary lifestyle, increased environmental pollution and un-healthy eating habits.
For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack. Asthma symptoms vary from person to person.
So, what happens during an asthma attack?
The tubes (bronchi) carry air in and out of the lungs. During an asthma attack the lining of these tubes swell, causing the airways to narrow. This reduces the flow of air into and out of the lungs. People with asthma have what we call ‘twitchy airways’ that overact to triggers such as pollution, pollen, and temperature changes. Other common triggers are house dust, cigarette smoke, emotional stress and physical exertion.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
l Severe shortness of breath
l Chest tightness or pain
l Coughing or wheezing
How do I know if I have asthma?
If you think you have symptoms of asthma, be sure to talk to your doctor. Your doctor may order certain tests to check how your lungs are functioning. You are more likely to have asthma if one or both of your parents has asthma.
How can I prevent asthma attack?
l The best way to avoid asthma attack is to make sure your asthma is well controlled in the first place. Taking prescribed medicines regularly will keep your asthma under control.
l If you get asthma attacks due to outside triggers make sure you avoid exposure to known allergens. Vacuum clean your home regularly, and avoid damp areas in the bath and kitchen.
l Wash your hands frequently to reduce risk of catching a cold virus.
l Exercise regularly. It helps to improve lung functioning
l Increase intake of fresh green leafy vegetables
l Include Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet like flax seeds and oily fish
Long-term asthma can be very alarming and requires watchful medical management to prevent and minimize episodes of acute asthma attacks. Homeopathy has emerged as a dominant option for asthma treatment. Several randomised and clinical studies have shown that Homeopathy is an extremely effective and safe treatment for asthma. Continued Homeopathic treatment reduces the intensity and severity of asthma attacks and improve overall respiratory health.
(Writer is a practicing homeopathic doctor specializing in chornic allergic diseases. For details email firstname.lastname@example.org)