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What Is Asthma?
Asthma involves the narrowing of the small airways in the lungs called the bronchioles. When a person has an asthma attack, the bronchioles tighten (bronchospasm), which in turn restricts the flow of air and makes breathing difficult. In addition, the airways become inflamed and full of excess mucus, adding to breathing problems. Asthma is a disorder in which it’s difficult to exhale, so stale air remains in the lungs. Most physicians will prescribe medications to control asthma symptoms, which is important. But a natural asthma treatment may also help you avoid the discomforts of this disorder. Below are a few to think about.
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Reduce the Triggers
Asthma bears some of the similarities of hay fever allergies. Attacks can be triggered by certain allergens such as pollens, mold spores, animal dander, and dust mites. In some asthmatics, other triggers such as smoke, air pollutants, chemical fumes, insecticides, and other smells can trigger an attack. Avoidance of these triggers as much as possible can help to prevent asthma attacks. Certain foods can also trigger an attack, especially milk products that promote mucus; however, a more advanced testing for allergic foods is the best way to find out your triggers. Avoid problem foods or practice a rotation diet to keep the immune threshold down and symptoms at bay.
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Natural Supplements to Ease Asthma Symptoms
According to Richard Firshein, D.O., an osteopathic physician in New York City, there are alternative remedies that patients can use safely and effectively. This doctor--who almost died of asthma--has placed this disorder as a priority in his practice on his mission to help others. The most recommended supplement for people with asthma is magnesium, states Dr. Firshein, which relaxes and opens the bronchial tract. Since the lungs become inflamed, taking omega-3 oils help to halt the damage. Eat foods rich in this nutrient such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, or take supplements daily. The next supplemental defenses are antioxidants such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E. These supplements control free radicals and limit their damage to the lungs. Another supplement recommended by Dr. Firshein is Quercetin, which acts like a natural antihistamine and helps allergies that sometimes worsens asthma.
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Warm Drinks and Steam
To reduce the stickiness of mucus, drink plenty of liquids. Water and other beverages act as natural expectorants, keeping mucus thin and coughable. Make sure liquids are warm or hot, as cold beverages can shock sensitive airways into spasms. A warm drink acts as a natural bronchodilator (airway relaxer), so think about warm tea or soup.
Think steam to moisturize the air and help breathing. One method is to run the shower or bath with hot water and sit inside the room, breathing the moist air. Others prefer to use a vaporizer or cool mist humidifier near the bed, breathing the humid air while sleeping. Boiling water and steam can be dangerous and cause burns if children are not supervised while using this device.
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Concentrate on Breathing and Relaxation
Controlling panic is of utmost important when dealing with asthma. Anxiety can tighten your chest further and lead to an asthma attack. Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga, and biofeedback can loosen tightened muscles surrounding the airways and help prevent attacks. Practice deep breathing exercises every day. With this exercise, you fill the lungs completely with good air and exhale fully after this breath. Doing this exercise regularly can help ward off wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
Practice these natural asthma treatments to help relieve your body of symptoms and lessen attacks. Make sure to consult with your physician to make sure your asthma is under control, and do not stop medications without your doctor's guidance.
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"Asthma treatment: Do complementary and alternative approaches work?" http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/asthma-treatment/AS00032
"Natural Asthma Remedies" http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/natural-asthma-remedies
Reversing Asthma by Richard N. Firshein, D.O. [Warner Books,1996]
Alternative Cures by Bill Gottlieb [Rodale, 2000]
Photo credit by Alvimann http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/220215