Saturday, September 24, 2011

Asthma/Bronchitis Treatments


The questions usually come to our mind about Asthma are: What is asthma, how does asthma differ from bronchitis, what are the diagnostic tests of asthma, what are causes of asthma, what to do during asthmatic attack,  is asthma curable, can asthma be prevented with change of life style, what are traditional remedies/natural therapies of asthma, yoga and other physical exercises for asthma, what are asthma medicines, does asthma medicines need to be taken life-long, what are the side-effects of asthma medicines, does asthma retard the growth and development of the child etc. etc.
Asthma/Bronchitis:
Asthma and Bronchitis have similar symptoms of chest congestion, coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing caused by inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Actually, only a doctor can correctly diagnose and identify if one is suffering from Asthma or Bronchitis and prescribe a proper treatment accordingly.
Bronchitis is inflammation of the main airways followed by infection (Bacterial or viral) in the lungs that causes difficulty in breathing, coughing out yellowish green thick sputum/mucus, chest discomfort, wheezing and sometimes low grade fever. Bronchitis is normally curable. But Bronchitis can become chronic also, especially in smokers. Bronchitis is more common in the children, elderly people and the heavy smokers.
Asthma is an allergic chronic lung disease (may be hereditary, environmental or due to some medication, smoking etc.) which cause wheezing and chest discomfort, may be coughing but often without mucus. In severe asthma one cannot talk even. Asthma is considered as not curable. Asthmatic attack can be triggered by cold air, dust, or strong emotions.

One should follow the scientific treatment and practices to control Asthma to live a quality life and should avoid to follow the myths which make the life a misrable one.
Yoga for asthma, bronchitis and other breathing disorders:Yoga should be done only when one is normal. Yoga should preferably be done early morning or at sun set with empty stomach on a yoga mat (specially fabricated sticky mats). Yoga should preferably be done under medical supervision and guidance of an yoga expert.Regular practice of Yogasanas and Pranayama can certainly have a positive effect on the asthma, bronchitis and other breathing disorders. Yoga focuses on controlled breathing. It improves the blood circulation which gives rich supply of oxygen to all parts of the body, thus helps them getting activated and energized. Slowly it improves the functioning of the bronchial tubes and the lungs and diminishes the mucus therein, thus, treating asthma, bronchitis and other breathing disorders. Yoga by toning up and relaxing the stressed muscles helps in calming the nerves, mind and the body and make them free from stress, anxieties, depressions and emotional instabilities. Yoga exercises reduce allergic sensitivities and improve the immune system to provide necessary resistance to the body.
Tarasana: Stand straight keeping the feet together with the feet making an angle. The knees should be straight and keep the hands tight and firm. Start inhaling and stretching the arms forward keeping the palms facing each other. Then, start exhaling and stretching the arms on the sides, palms facing downwards. Then, start inhaling and stretching the arms upwards, palms facing each other. Stay in this position for few seconds. Start exhaling and bringing down the arms to the original position. This Yogasana steadies breathing, improves blood circulation and calms the body and the mind, thus, gives relief to asthmatic patients.
Sukhasana/Swastikasana: A comfortable sitting pose. Cross the legs, touching sole of the right foot with the base of the left thigh and the sole of the left foot with the base of the right thigh. Join the thumbs of the hands with the index fingers and place the left hand on the left knee and right hand on the right knee. Straighten the spine, drop the shoulders down and back and press the chest towards the front. Close the eyes and relax the body. Let the tongue rest on the roof of the mouth, just behind the front teeth. Breathe deeply through the nose down into the belly. Deep breathing lessens the stress on your heart and lungs, thus, helps in controlling asthma, bronchitis and other breathing disorders.
Shoulder Lifts: To release the tension of the shoulders. Take a comfortable sitting pose keeping the back straight and neck relaxed. Start inhaling and slowly raise the right shoulder and then start exhaling whilst slowly dropping it down. Similarly, raise the left shoulder and drop it down. Lastly, do this with both the shoulders together. Repeat it for some more times. This helps a lot in improving asthma, bronchitis and other breathing disorders.
Matsyasana: Lie down straight on back with legs straight. Bend the knees a bit and try to make an arch by lifting the chest and then the whole trunk with the elbows and sliding the head backward resting the crown of the head at the mat. Breathe and stay in this position for few seconds and then come back to the original lying position. This can be repeated for 2-3 times. This Yogasana tones up the nerves, thus, helps a lot in improving asthmatic conditions.
Bhujangasana: Lie down with the torso touching the mat, the toes kept together, turned outwards and touching the mat. The heels should also touch each other and the soles turned backwards. Keep the palms parallel to, on either sides of the chest and touching to the mat. Start inhaling slowly and raise the trunk and the head curving the spine with forearms touching the sides of the chest. Stay in this pose for some time. Start exhaling and slowly come to the original position. This Yogasana strengthen the chest muscles, thus helps to control the asthmatic conditions.
Anulom-Vilom Pranayam: Sit down in any comfortable pose keeping the back straight preferably in Padmasana (Place the toe of the left leg on the right thigh and heel on the groin of the left leg. Place the toe of the right leg on the right thigh and heel on the groin of the right leg. Keep the wrist of both the hands on the respective knees) or Sukhasana (Place the heel of the left leg on the perineum. Place the heel of the right leg over the left leg heel and place hands on respective knees as in Padmasana). Close the eyes. Now close the right nostril with right thumb and inhale deeply through the left nostrils. Hold the air in the lungs for sometime. Close the left nostril with the ring and middle fingers of the right hand and slowly exhale through the right nostril. Hold for some time and then inhale deeply through the right nostril, hold the air for sometime. Close the right nostril with right thumb and slowly exhale through the left nostril. Now reverse the process. Do it for about 15 minutes and may take a minute’s rest after every five minutes.
This Yoga Pranayam clears the nasal passage, prevents sinus clogging and allows free breathing which help in controlling asthma, bronchitis and other breathing disorders.
Kapalabhati: Sit in any comfortable position or in Padmasana or Sukhasana. Inhale deeply through the nose. Exhale forcefully and quickly making a hissing sound through the mouth with tightened lips. The belly and diaphragm should contract and press the navel towards the spine with each exhale. An inhalation and exhalation is one round. Do it for 10 times and can slowly increase to 30 times. Then rest in Shavasana.This Yoga Pranayam saturates the bloodstream of lungs with oxygen, improves free breathing, thus, helps in controlling asthma, bronchitis and other breathing disorders. 
Exercises to control Asthma/Bronchitis: As and when advised by a qualified doctor, otherwise, sometimes it may result in exercise-induced asthmatic attacks. Deep breathing in green environment, walking, jogging, stretching, swimming, biking, etc.
Foods to be avoided to control Asthma/Bronchitis: Though there is no general rule to avoid any food in all asthmatic cases, food allergy can be a cause of it which needs to be diagnosed. The foods generally taken care are - fried/ baked foods like pizza, dairy products like curd, ice cream, cold beverages, frozen foods, high fat and high sugar foods like chocolates, cookies, cakes, sour foods like sauces, potatoes or potato chips, white bread, rice, yellow cheese, red meat etc.Wine may cause serious Asthma attack to people who are sensitive or allergic to sulphites. The highest levels of sulphites are found in dried fruit, wine, beer, cordial, convenience foods such as pizzas and oven chips, jam, some seafood products and processed meat.
Cut down your alcoholic, smoking, caffeine and drugs taking habits
Foods to control Asthma/Bronchitis:

( L to R: Ginger, Black Pepper, Cinnamom, Great Cardamom, Long Pepper, Common Fig, Basil & Licorice Roots)

Fresh fruit and vegetables like pumpkin seeds, carrots, leeks (a kind of green onion), beet root, and cantaloupe melon (Kharbooja), Pineapple, Citrus fruits (lemons, limes and oranges, especially grapefruit), Watermelon, Pears, Asparagus, Spinach, Mustard greens (Sarson ka Saag), Ginger, Garlic, Onions, Cauliflower, Celery (Ajwain), Thyme leaves (Ban ajwain), Flaxseeds (Alsi), sesame seed (Til), Chicory - Cichorium intybus (Kasni), Horseradish, Scallions (Kanda or Gandana), Seaweed, Lobster, almonds etc. build body resistance and are known to help to control Asthma/bronchitisand other breathing disorders.
Microbes (like probiotics) found in curd and milk have beneficial effect in the prevention as well as treatment of allergic diseases like asthma.
Drink plenty of fluids.
Stress free life with adequate rest of sound sleep at night.

Herbs good for Asthma/Bronchitis: Holy Basil (Kali/ Ram Tulsi), Ginger (Adrak), Cinnamom (Dal Chini), Black Pepper (Kali Mirach), Common Fig (Anjir), Licorice Root (Mulethi), Asafoetida (Hing), Fennel (Saunf), Bay leaf (Tej patta), Melon seeds (Magaj), Sultanas (Munakka), Cardamom (Elaichi), Vasaka (Arusha), Somlata, Hyssop (Jufa), Yellow Berried Nightshade (Kantkari), Bharangi, Ginko Biloba etc.
Other herbal treatments to control Asthma/bronchitis:
• Take equal amounts of powder of dried ginger, black pepper, and long pepper (Pippali) with honey.
• A teaspoonful of honey and ginger juice dissolved in hot water.
• Two spoonful juice of Malabar nut (Vasa/Arusa) – Adhatoda vasica.
• Take warm decoction of Ginger, Cinnamom (Dal Chini), Black Pepper, Great Cardamom (Badi Elaichi)   and basil (Tulsi) sweetened with honey.
• Take a bowl of hot water, add 2-3 drops of lavender/ Eucalyptus oil and inhale.
• Take a combination of beet root juice, carrot and spinach juice.
• Inhale steam before going to sleep to clear the respiratory track.
• Keep bedroom air moist with a humidifier/vaporizer.
Doctors prescribe the use of inhalers which they consider as a surer and safer device to manage asthma than the use of antibiotics, cough syrups and antihistamines. 

Food supplements/Vitamins to control Asthma/Bronchitis: Vitamins A, B complex, B6, C, E as well as zinc, Magnesium, Selenium etc. are known to be good to control Asthma/Bronchitis.
References:http://www.livestrong.com/article/220387-differences-between-asthma-bronchitis/#ixzz1X9mtyqLi
http://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-asthma-and-vs-bronchitis/#ixzz1X9pntp00
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002078/
http://www.ayushveda.com/homeremedies/bronchitis.htm
http://www.ayurvedic-medicines.org/diseases/bronchitis.htm
http://www.anandakendra.com/2010/05/bronchitis-treatment-with-yoga.html
http://www.womenfitness.net/bronchitis_diet.htm

Dr. S. Lavasa -Asthma & Allergy, The Tribune May 23, 2012


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