Asthma is a chronic disease, which doesn’t have a permanent cure. With increasing levels of pollution, a decline in the air quality of major cities in the world and environmental changes, the number of cases of asthma is increasing exponentially every year.
Classification Of Asthma
The treatment of your asthma will depend on the classification of your asthma. According to Mayo Clinic, this is done by doctors taking into consideration the frequency of asthma symptoms, physical examination, patient history, and diagnostic test results.
Asthma is classified into 4 categories:
- Mild intermittent: You might experience mild symptoms for not more than two days a week and two nights a week.
- Mild persistent: The symptoms are experienced more than twice a week, but not more than once a day.
- Moderate persistent: Once a day the symptom flare-up is noticed and one night in a week.
- Severe persistent: Symptoms throughout the day on most days of the week and also frequently at night.
Treatment For Asthma
The treatment plan for asthma will depend on the kind of asthma and severity. To lead as normally as possible you should rigorously adhere to the treatment plan advised by your doctor. By keeping a check on the symptoms and avoiding the triggers it is possible to avoid severe asthma attacks. But in case things get out of hand, immediately visit a hospital.
Women and children, in particular, are vulnerable to asthma, and it can prove to be especially fatal during pregnancy.
Medication: Inhalers are used for the treatment of chronic asthma, as it is much better than oral medication since there are no side-effects and good for prolonged usage. The medication directly goes to the lungs and acts much faster. The medication for any individual is prescribed depending on a number of factors like age, symptoms, and severity. Usually, doctors prescribe 2 kinds of medication: long term asthma control medicines which assist in keeping the symptoms under control on a daily basis and include inhaled corticosteroids and the other rescue medication are prescribed to provide relief during an asthma attack.
The number of times you use your quick-relief inhaler will determine the severity of your asthma.
- Allergy medication: Often allergic reaction leads to the onset of an asthma attack. A doctor might prescribe antihistamines and you would also need to avoid certain food or things that you are allergic to.
- Asthma action plan: Your doctor will ask you to maintain a daily log which will help to ascertain the exact cause behind your asthmatic condition. Also, the doctor will give a schedule for medication that needs to be followed rigorously. Regular monitoring by a peak flow meter needs to be done at home.
Since asthma is a lifelong malady, many people often try alternative medication to get relief from the complications. The effectiveness of this medication is yet to be ascertained by science, though researchers and clinical trials are going on.
Most of these treatments are natural and Ayurvedic in nature and they won’t further aggravate the disease. Many people have benefited from certain alternative treatment methods like Yoga and breathing exercises. But that doesn’t mean you give up on traditional medications like inhalers and it is strongly advised that you speak with your doctor before opting for home remedies to treat asthma.
- Coffee: Caffeine helps in bronchodilation and helps in opening up the airways and provides relief immediately. Alternatively, you can drink black tea too.
- Essential oils: Eucalyptus oil has been shown to be extremely beneficial for wheezing and difficulty in breathing. Pour a few drops in a pot of boiling water and inhale the vapour, to obtain relief from the symptoms. But remember this shouldn’t be tried by people who are sensitive to strong smells.
- Mustard oil: This age-old method that has been practiced in Indian households. Rub mustard oil along your neck and chest and down your spine, and experience relief from chest congestion due to phlegm.
- Garlic: It has anti-inflammatory properties and asthma is caused due to the inflammation of the airways. It may help in reducing the occurrence of symptoms though conclusive evidence is still being sought.
- Ginger: Another natural ingredient with anti-inflammatory properties. You can drink ginger tea every morning for better results.
- Honey: It is an excellent ingredient that is used for the treatment of sore throats and coughing. You can have it by mixing with hot beverages like ginger tea, herbal tea or green tea.
- Omega-3 oils: It is found in fish and flax seeds and has manifold health benefits. It is highly beneficial in reducing inflammation and improving lung function.
- Acupuncture: An ancient Chinese therapy, which involves placing small needles in specific regions of the body and helps in combating symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath.
- Breathing Exercise: The Buteyko breathing technique focuses on breathing through the nose instead of the mouth while sitting upright and maintaining a relaxed posture and it has been found to be extremely beneficial.
- Yoga: Yoga brings overall fitness, improves immunity and reduces the stress-a key trigger for asthma. Some beneficial yoga postures are Savasana, Ardha-Matsyendrasana (Sitting half spinal twist), Sukasana, and Bhujangasana (Cobra pose). Yoga breathing techniques like Pranayam, kapalbhati, and anulomvilom are also highly beneficial.
- Licorice: it is an essential ingredient in Ayurvedic remedies. Make a concoction by boiling licorice, ginger, cinnamon, honey and bay leaf in a glass of water until it is reduced to half the quantity. Strain and drink it while still warm.
Certain lifestyle changes also need to be incorporated to keep asthma at bay. You need to maintain a healthy diet and an ideal BMI, as obesity is one of the risk factors. You can also install an AC or dehumidifier according to climatic conditions, which helps in lowering the humidity and reducing the exposure to dust and other airborne allergens. You should also maintain an increased level of cleanliness by preventing dust accumulation, mold spores and pet danders.
Not be disheartened if you are diagnosed with asthma. With proper care and medication, it is possible to continue with your life like before.