The condition has been increasing in all age, gender, and racial groups since the early 1980s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and there is no cure for it. If you experience asthma, it’s important to control it carefully to prevent it from interfering with your everyday life and activities. Let’s take a look at the symptoms and causes of asthma, natural ways to manage it, and what the advantages can be of doing so.
Recognizing Asthma Symptoms
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of asthma is an important part of managing the condition. Many people deal with ongoing niggling respiratory issues without ever realizing they are actually experiencing asthma, which means they don’t treat the underlying problem until it gets to the point of diagnosis. How much more helpful would it be if you could detect the warning signs at an earlier stage?
Here are some of the most common according to the National Jewish Health network, which specializes in coordinated care for the immune system, heart, and lung disease:
- Breathing changes
- Sneezing and a runny/stuffy nose
- Moodiness, feeling weak, slow or sad, being easily upset
- Headache that comes and goes
- Sweaty and feverish sensations, faster heartbeat
- Coughing and itchy throat
- Tiredness, trouble sleeping, with dark circles under the eyes
- Poor tolerance for exercise
In most instances, just experiencing one or two of these occasionally doesn’t necessarily mean you have underlying asthma, but if you experience several or many of them on an ongoing basis it might be worth consideration.
Once your asthma develops into a full-blown attack, however, you should have no trouble identifying what it is. Symptoms of an attack include severe wheezing with chest tightness or pressure, non-stop coughing, rapid breathing with feelings of anxiety or panic, and difficulty speaking because of retractions in the neck and chest muscles.
Asthma Causes and Triggers
So, an asthma attack is not fun, and it can, in fact, be fatal if it’s left untreated. The majority of asthma cases are allergy-related, and since allergies are on the increase because of air pollution and our lifestyle, it’s no surprise asthma cases are also increasing. There’s a difference between asthma causes and asthma triggers, however, so we’re going to separate them out so as to understand each one.
The primary reasons why patients develop asthma include:
- Genetics, since asthma has a habit of running in families. If one parent shows signs of the condition, the children are more likely to do so too.
- Allergies, which in certain conditions have a direct link to asthma. Examples of these include atopic dermatitis (eczema) or allergic rhinitis (hay fever).
- Lung infections, especially those contracted in infancy or early childhood such as bronchitis or pneumonia. These can cause lasting damage to the lung tissue and make the lungs more susceptible to asthma.
- Irritants, such as contact with or exposure to chemicals, dust, vapors, smoke, and molds.
Additional risk factors that increase the chances of becoming asthmatic are a mother who smoked during pregnancy and the low-grade inflammation that often accompanies obesity. All of these put you at risk for potentially becoming an asthma patient, but they don’t necessarily apply to the severity of your condition.
People who are susceptible to asthma are likely to experience a flare-up or attack at times when they are exposed to certain triggers. Airborne substances, such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, particles of cockroach waste, and pollutants such as smoke are common triggers, particularly for anyone with an allergic reaction to these.
Certain types of medication, such as NSAIDs and beta blockers can trigger reactions, and even the food you eat could cause an attack if you’re sensitive to sulfites and preservatives that are found in items like shrimp, dried fruit, processed potatoes, wine, and beer.
Cold air or strenuous physical activity can also trigger an attack, and so can developing an infection such as a cold or an episode of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).
Natural Therapies to Relieve Asthma Symptoms
Few of us are attracted to the idea of taking prescription drugs on a regular basis, especially for a chronic condition such as asthma. While you might need a shot of Ventolin to open your airways when you’re in the middle of an attack, it’s far more desirable to avoid the attack completely. This requires careful management of your condition, including identifying the underlying causes and understanding your triggers well enough to avoid them whenever possible.
Some ways to manage your condition naturally include:
- Identify whether you have any history of asthma in your family, or experienced a lung infection as a child. Have yourself tested for reactions to common allergens, if possible, and research when and where these are likely to be found. For instance, if you’re allergic to pollens there are specific times of the year when you might be more vulnerable than others.
- Keep an asthma journal to understand what sets off an asthma attack for you. Each time you have an attack, record your actions for the previous 12 hours in terms of where you went, what physical activities you participated in, the foods you ate, and how well you are feeling. Did you have a cold prior to the attack, or go running in a brisk temperature? When you have a clear picture of what your triggers are, it will be easier for you to avoid them whenever possible.
- Add asthma supplements to your diet that can strengthen your immune system, like Dr. Garber’s Natural Solutions Lung Health and Enviro Defense products. The first is designed to repair lung tissue damage resulting from inhaled toxic substances. If you are unfortunate enough to experience symptoms in spite of your efforts, the second provides relief from nasal and sinus congestion, watery eyes and sneezing that we experience during an allergic attack. These products can be used separately or together, and work by using a combination of biotherapies made from naturally-sourced materials.
- Regular exercise is essential for keeping your lungs healthy, according to the American Lung Association. The fitter you are, the more efficiently your body is at getting the oxygen into your bloodstream and directing it to your muscles. This reduces the risk of shortness of breath, which can trigger an asthma attack. Ideal forms of exercise include brisk walking, cycling, gardening, and active housecleaning, but for the more adventurous running, jumping rope, weight-lifting and Pilates can give your heart and lungs a real workout, and breathing exercises can train your body to breathe more deeply and effectively.
Improving your lung health carries a range of benefits, such as the ability to be more active for longer, which contributes to blood circulation and brain function. This impacts both your physical and mental health, both of which are vital for a good quality of life.
To experience personally how Dr. Garber’s lung support supplements can benefit your wellness, click here to place your order.