Chronic Asthma Symptoms affect over 100 million people worldwide! By any stretch of the imagination, this is considered to be an epidemic. To put this into perspective, 100 million was the population of the entire world in 1800! Chronic asthma is one disease in a class of illnesses called atopic disease or Allergic Disease, and includes seasonal allergies and exzema. These illnesses are not what they seem at first glance. Seasonal allergies LOOK like a reaction to common allergy triggers. Exzema, also called atopic dermatitis, LOOKS like a painful dry itchy skin irritation. Chronic asthma LOOKS like a respiratory problem. Airway inflammation and narrowing, thickening of the smooth muscle layer, increased mucus production and difficulty breathing all contribute to the appearance of an airway issue. But these asthma symptoms are only the surface issues.
What these diseases ARE, is a hyper reaction of the immune system to common allergy triggers such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, environmental toxins, etc. Allergic diseases are generally a specific type of allergic reaction called IgE mediated allergies. IgE is the type of antibody that is produced in in this type of allergic reaction.
IgE mediated allergies are significant because these reactions happen quickly and are usually severe, sometimes even deadly. Often people are exposed to an allergy trigger and wham! The immune system is activated, a cascade of inflammation occurs that constrict airways and causes wheezing and shortness of breath.
In other cases, chronic asthma can actually be Drug Induced! There is a condition that is called Aspirin Induced Asthma. Not only aspirin, but Ibuprofen and all other 'NSAID' drugs can lead to Aspirin Induced Asthma. For those that are unaware of it, you need to learn more so that you can avoid this condition that is present in up to 25% of those with asthma.
Western medicine treatment of chronic asthma consists mainly of drugs:
• Bronchodilators to widen the airways
• Corticosteroids to suppress the immune system
• Antihistamines or Leukotrine modifiers to decrease inflammation and mucus production
Many doctors also make an attempt to educate the patient to stay away from allergy triggers, and some attempt allergy desensitization shots. These asthma treatments usually work temporarily and alleviate symptoms, but they also have downsides. Each of these asthma medicines have significant side effects, especially when used long term.
These asthma treatments never address the question of why the immune system is hyper reactive in the first place. It never addresses the source of the problem. Think about it, if these asthma treatments actually fixed the source of the problem, then 100 million people would not have asthma! People would be cured. They would not have to take drugs every day and still worry about the next attack.
These treatments don't work because this hyper reaction is really just a SYMPTOM.
Allergic diseases are not truly diseases in and of themselves, but symptoms of underlying imbalance in the body.
Most western medicine practitioners would disagree with this statement and we can debate about clinical trials or evidence that proves one or the other of these theories as being right. But instead, having this viewpoint allows us to stop looking at chronic asthma as a lifetime sentence caused by genetics, and start looking at it as communication from the body telling us that something is out of balance.
This allows us to fix what is out of balance and solve the problem, rather than simply suppress symptoms.
Yes, it is AND No, it's not!!
Yes, more people who get asthma have family members who have allergic diseases. Many studies show genetic components to these diseases without having found one particular gene responsible. Scientists are now looking at the expression of multiple genes as being the culprit in these diseases.
But it is not an inherent genetic defect that causes these problems. Genetics plays a role and will INFLUENCE whether you have allergic disease and how severe it is, but genetics do not CAUSE these illnesses - environmental factors cause the EXPRESSION of these genes. In other words, not EVERYONE who has these genes will get the disease. Environmental factors cause the body to get out of balance which leads to illness.
Genes are not the problem.
Well, the short answer is that your immune system is the problem.
The immune system is designed to differentiate that which will hurt you from that which won't and destroy that which will. That is really its ONLY job. Healthy immune systems do not go into emergency mode over pet dander and pollen. But unhealthy immune systems do - especially when they have the genetic tendency to do so.
And since environment influences the health of your immune system, and the immune system tells genes to express these illnesses, an improved environment can keep your genes from expressing allergic disease as well. So the long answer is: environmental factors cause the immune system problems that cause the gene to express dysfunction that makes you have symptoms that make you miserable.
So, it's a variety of environmental factors, not JUST allergy triggers, that cause your allergy symptoms. Unfortunately, there are many factors that interact to contribute to your illness.
Fortunately, small changes in any one of these factors can make a big difference. Just as a pebble dropped into a pond causes ripples to cover the entire surface, so small changes can ripple benefits throughout your whole body. Asthma prevention includes factors such as :
• Nutrition • Allergy Triggers
• Digestive System Health
• Stress levels
• Avoiding over the counter pain relievers in those who have Aspirin Induced Asthma
And keep reading to find out what Asthma and Nutrition have to do with your Chronic Asthma symptoms....
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