Recent asthma statistics show this disease now affects 17 million people in the United States -- that's an increase of 2.5 million people in the past five years. Asthma is the number one cause of chronic illness in kids, affecting more than 5.5 million children. Still, there is reason to be hopeful if you are one of the millions of asthmatics across the country -- although the number of asthma cases continues to climb, researchers are determined to develop more effective treatments. Plus, there are a number of home remedies you can try to ward off attacks and alleviate symptoms.Understanding Asthma
When you take a breath, the air goes from your mouth or nose to the windpipe (or trachea), where it then travels to the lungs. It first enters the lungs through the bronchi, a group of tubes that branch off from the windpipe, and the bronchi then branch off into bronchioles. Asthma attacks occur when the bronchi and bronchioles come in contact with a foreign invader, or asthma "trigger."
The tendency to develop asthma is inherited, and it is more common among people who have allergies. Indeed, there are two forms of asthma, allergic asthma and nonallergic asthma, with the allergic form being more common. Allergic asthma develops in people who have allergies, and the same substances (called allergens) that provoke their allergy symptoms also trigger their asthma symptoms. Both the allergy and asthma symptoms are the product of an overreaction by the immune system.
Common triggers for allergic asthma include dust mites, pollen, mold, and pet dander. However, allergies can come from almost any substance. While dust mites and pollen are both airborne allergens, allergic asthma can also be trigged by an allergic reaction to something ingested, like strawberries.
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Asthma attacks can be triggered by exposure to allergens.
In nonallergic asthma, on the other hand, the triggers that irritate the lungs and bring on asthma symptoms have nothing to do with allergies or the immune system. This type of asthma can be sparked by dry air, cold weather, exercise, smoke (including the secondhand variety), strong perfume, stressful situations, intense emotions, even laughing.
The typical symptoms of allergic and nonallergic asthma are similar. They include wheezing, tightening in the chest, dry coughing, and increased heart rate. The symptoms may occur immediately following contact with a trigger or may be delayed, and their severity varies among individual asthma sufferers.
As we said, there is no cure for asthma, but the good news is that asthma, whether mild, moderate, or severe, allergic or nonallergic, can be managed. Doctors who specialize in treating asthma can be very helpful. Every patient with asthma should see a doctor to be sure another cause of wheezing is not present and, if asthma is diagnosed, to develop a therapeutic program for managing the disorder.
In addition to working with your doctor, you can use home remedies to help control your asthma. All the medicine in the world won't help an asthma sufferer if he or she smokes. The most expensive air filter you can buy won't make a bit of difference if you leave your windows wide open. The key is to track down your triggers and, as completely as possible, eliminate them from your life.
In this article, we will describe some of the home remedies for avoiding common asthma triggers and minimizing your exposure to them. We will begin in the next section with ways to asthma-proof your home.
">For more information about asthma and the allergies that can trigger an attack, try the following links:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat go to our main Home Remedies page.
- Read How Allergies Work to learn the causes, symptoms, and types of allergies.
- How to Allergy-Proof Your Home includes advice for reducing allergens in your home.
- For a variety of safe and effective remedies for allergy symptoms, read 27 Home Remedies for Allergies.
|Beware of So-Called Cures
If you have gone from doctor to doctor in search of a remedy for your asthma, you may feel frustrated and be tempted to explore some "alternative" treatments: cytotoxicity testing, special diets, herbal preparations, body manipulation, and vitamins, to name a few. As tempting as these promised solutions may sound, there is one problem: They rarely work.
Cytotoxicity, for instance, is based on the premise that if the allergenic extract of a food to which you are allergic is mixed with a drop of your blood, certain cells in your blood will attack the food. Your blood cells will, therefore, be altered and, when viewed under a microscope, will be distorted. However, scientific research has not shown this technique to be reliable or useful for the treatment of allergies or asthma.