Ounce of Prevention | Alternatives for asthma | News

Asthma, or more correctly, bronchial asthma is a common inflammatory disease that affects the air passages of the lungs. The symptoms are variable and include episodes of wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and chest tightness.

With increasing environmental pollution, the number of people suffering from asthma worldwide has increased. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US, more than eight per cent of Americans have the disease, with black children being the most affected group.

Modern medicine treats asthma with a wide assortment of drugs. They are administered orally as tablets or liquids, by inhalation as sprays, pumps or nebulisers, or by injection. Much of this approach centres on treating the symptoms of the problem or, at best, reducing the frequency of the episodes.

Asthma is an inflammatory disorder reflecting a disturbance of the body’s immune system. Research suggests that sufferers from asthma are turning to alternative treatments more frequently in an effort to address the underlying causes of the problem and not just treat the symptoms.

Complementary approaches to asthma range from dietary changes, vitamins, minerals, herbs and breathing exercises to psychological therapies, acupuncture and homeopathy. These may reduce or eliminate the need for medication, but it is important to discuss this with your doctor.

CLEAN UP YOUR DIET

As with any inflammatory problem, diet is extremely important to the asthmatic and the following principles should be observed:

n Avoid foods that irritate the immune system, like dairy products, wheat, preservatives and additives. Identify all foods that may trigger an attack and avoid them. Moderate your intake of sugar and salt.

n Have more antioxidant-rich foods like vegetables and fresh fruit, especially berries. Asthmatics often have low levels of these protective nutrients found in fruits and vegetables. Drink more clean water, natural fruit and vegetable juices, herbal teas and…

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