Asthma

Despite modern treatments, the incidence of asthma and allergies has dramatically increased over the last 2 decades.

Asthma is usually diagnosed when a patient has:

  • Difficulty or shortness in breathing with tightness of the lungs, which may be episodic.
  • Wheezing or dry cough (adults & children) or wet cough (toddlers).
  • Bronchospasm and/or inflammation are the chief mechanisms.

 

People of any age can suffer from asthma, but it occurs most frequently in childhood and early adulthood

As asthma is a frightening illness to have, there is much concern when young children have coughs and wheezing. In our experience, toddlers are diagnosed with asthma when they have bronchiolitis, wheezy bronchitis, or an allergic cough. We see many young children who have been placed on asthma medications who, according to our assessment, do not suffer from asthma.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis of asthma needs to be done under medical supervision - usually testing the lung capacity via a peak flow meter before and after using ventolin. When the lung capacity improves after using ventolin, the diagnosis of asthma is usually made. Only when this test is completed under medical supervision, is a diagnosis of asthma certain.

What causes asthma?

Many cases have an allergic component.

Genetic predisposition - when parents and other family members have asthma.

Viral and exercise induced asthma usually occurs in children and adults who have a family predisposition.

Asthma can develop in adult life, when many others have outgrown it. The causative factors are usually similar, although there may be other known triggers.

Triggers for asthma attacks can be a recent respiratory virus, exposure to cold air, exercise, contact with air borne allergens, certain foods and food additives.

Is asthma curable?

In orthodox medicine, a case is considered successful when symptoms are fully managed with asthma medications. When asthma is left untreated, long-term cases often deteriorate and the need for drugs increases.

In Australia the corticosteroids like Pulmicort, Flixotide, Seretide and Qvar are popular as preventatives, with broncho-dilators (puffers) being used to relieve acute episodes. When these preventers are successfully used, asthma generally remains under good control. However, there are serious side effects from the prolonged use of these medications, and the widespread use of corticosteroids being prescribed for young children is of considerable concern.

Side effects of corticosteroids are:

  • Bronchospasm - the very symptom the medication is treating!
  • Cough
  • Eczema
  • Oral thrush
  • Physical dependence
  • Retarded growth rate in children, osteoporosis in adults
  • Runny nose

It is our experience that many children do very well after being weaned off these medications.

Natural treatment

When a clear cause can be identified, treatment is often straightforward. We assess dietary and nutritional factors and prescribe homeopathic medicines to manage acute episodes. Homeopathic medicine is selected based on the individual's symptom picture. 

How long does treatment take?

Treatment time varies according to how long a patient has been on asthma medication. Children who have been on little or no medication tend to respond very quickly. For those on medication, part of the treatment time involves slowly reducing the medication under medical supervision.