Childhood asthma is a chronic ailment seen in children that affects the airways, and is usually characterized by wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, and breathing problem, particularly at the time of early morning or during night. It is a major problem among children as it is responsible for increased number of healthcare visits, hospitalization and absenteeism in school.
Globally, rise in prevalence of asthma in children in mid-1990s to the mid-2000s has been reported from 11.1% to 11.6% in children aged 6 – 7 years and from 13.2% to 13.7% among children aged 13 – 14 years. A total of 1.1 million children in the United Kingdom (UK) are known to suffer from asthma.
More on child health related ailment ‘Asthma’.
Asthma - Overview
Taking the breath away… literally!
Asthma makes breathing difficult for more than 300 million people worldwide according to the WHO. It affects people living in the developing as well as developed countries and affects all age groups. It is the most common chronic disease in children and even with all the advances in treatment, the prevalence has only risen in the past few years.
Asthma is primarily a chronic disease (a respiratory allergy) that presents as recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing. There is a vast variation in the frequency and severity of symptoms of asthma from person to person. This is where the individualized treatment with Homeopathy can give significant relief to patients of asthma and help them lead an easy life.
At Dr. Batras, we have the experience of successfully treating patients with asthma (breathlessness, respiratory allergy, wheeze) for more than 35 years. Our individualized asthma treatment has helped more than 10,000 patients overcome their disability and lead a normal life. Welcome to gentle, safe and effective treatment of asthma with Homeopathy!
Read more on child health related ailments ‘Bronchitis’, ‘Common Cold’ and ‘Tonsillitis’.
What is Asthma?
Running out of breath…
The term ‘asthma’ comes from the Greek word ‘aazein’ which means ‘to exhale with open mouth, to pant’. This has been derived from the typical symptoms of asthma, which is that of running out of breath.
Asthma (also called Bronchial Asthma) is a chronic disease that affects the tubes (bronchi) that carry air in and out of lungs. Whenever these tubes become inflamed due to any reason, three things happen:
- The muscles of these tubes contract
- There is excessive mucus production inside the tubes
- Constriction of the tubes occurs due to the above two reasons
This ultimately causes difficulty in the passage of air in and out of the tubes leading to the feeling of breathlessness.
When asthma is diagnosed after 18 years of age, it is known as adult onset asthma. The most common causes of asthma are allergies (respiratory allergy). Adult onset asthma is more frequent in women as compared to men. Childhood asthma on the other hand is almost 3 times more prevalent in boys as compared to girls. Around puberty, the prevalence is more or less the same in girls and boys.
Developed countries all over the world experience higher incidence of asthma (breathlessness, respiratory allergy, wheeze) than developing countries. The ratio between these groups is however reversed for deaths due to asthma.
In people who are prone to this condition, the air tubes are very sensitive and react strongly to allergic or irritating things. The reaction (allergy) involves the above three steps and results in cough, wheezing and chest tightness. This state may persist in a milder form at most times; however it may worsen under certain conditions and at such times is called an ‘asthma attack’.
Severity of asthma may range from minor wheezing to life-threatening attacks. Long term medication is generally needed to control such causes of asthma, to prevent acute attacks.
Causes of Asthma
Why am I so breathless?
The primary reason, why asthma (breathlessness, respiratory allergy, wheeze) develops in some people and not in others, is not well understood. However, certain risk factors have been identified as asthma causes,which make a person more prone to develop this condition. Conversely, it must be noted that not all cases develop asthma in spite of the presence of risk factors.
One of the strongest risk factors for asthma is a combination of genetic tendency and exposure to allergens / irritants. The allergens or irritants form a large group and some of the common ones are mentioned here:
- Pollen and moulds
- House dust mites
- Air pollution
- Pet dander
- Tobacco smoke
- Chemical irritants in the workplace
- Strong perfumes
- Presence of any other kind of allergy
Apart from allergens/irritants, there are other things that can trigger an asthmatic attack:
Here is a look at a few such causes of asthma:
- Chilly air
- Intense emotions like anger, fear, etc.
- Physical exercise (known as an Exercise-induced cause of Asthma, this is triggered by rigorous physical exercise)
- Certain drugs like aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), Beta-blockers, etc.
- Viral infections
- Certain foods
- Changes in weather
- Hormonal changes such as those occurring in pregnancy, menopause, thyroid disorders, etc.
- Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) – the reflux of the acid from the stomach into the food pipe (esophagus) can trigger asthma in sensitive individuals
Symptoms of Asthma
Breathing becomes an effort…
The difficulty in breathing (asthmatic attack, respiratory allergy, wheeze) experienced by an asthmatic person can have numerous expressions. Some people feel their throat is being strangled during the wheeze, others remark that they feel as if they are breathing though a sponge, yet others may feel trapped as if by a plastic sleeve. As many the people, so many the expressions! However, there are certain patterns and symptoms of asthma that can be commonly seen, such as:
- Perennial or seasonal asthma
- Continuous or intermittent asthma
- Daytime or nighttime asthma
The asthma symptoms that are seen amongst the patients can have any combination from the following set:
- Cough – this is mostly dry cough (not accompanied by phlegm)
- Breathlessness / dyspnoea
- Wheezing (wheeze) - An audible whistling when exhaling
- Chest tightness or pain
- Difficulty in lying down due to the breathlessness/dyspnoea
- Bouts of coughing or wheezing (wheeze) that are worsened by a respiratory virus such as a cold or the flu
- Restless sleep, tired feeling on waking
- Easily getting tired with activities that normally would not affect anyone so much
- Tightening of neck muscles, rapidity of breathing
- Difficulty in talking at times
- Excessive sweating (especially during an acute asthma attack)
The symptoms of asthma change over time in most people and these must be tracked regularly. The patient must periodically visit his physician to get his condition evaluated.
The physician evaluates asthma based on certain key features and classifies them into:
- Mild intermittent asthma- Mild symptoms up to two days a week and up to two nights a month
- Mild persistent asthma- Symptoms more than twice a week, but no more than once in a single day
- Moderate persistent asthma- Symptoms once a day and more than one night a week
- Severe persistent asthma- Symptoms throughout the day on most days and frequently at night
It must be noted that first three types of asthma (respiratory allergy / wheeze) respond very well to Homeopathy; however in the last type the treatment tends to be more palliative in nature.
Diagnosis of Asthma
Seize that wheeze in time
Once your doctor has taken your history and has examined you thoroughly, he will be fairly sure of the diagnosis. This is one of those conditions for which history and clinical findings are sufficient to diagnose. However, your physician may perform certain tests to confirm the same:
- Spirometry (Lung function tests)
- Peak flow rate
- X-ray chest
Some other diagnostic tests can also be done to confirm asthma; however these are not very commonly performed. These include:
- Methacholine bronchial challenge
- Nitric oxide test
In case of children, it can be hard to differentiate asthma from a wheezy bronchitis or pneumonia and the diagnosis should be very carefully established.
Living with Asthma
Take control of your asthma… NOW
Managing asthma may not be all that easy for a patient, but effective steps taken in time can help them deal better with this chronic illness. Here are some tips and home remedies for asthma that you can incorporate in your life to make a difference:
- Drink plenty of water to loosen the secretions
- Avoid exposure to allergens / irritants as far as possible – Effective steps to prevent the exposure to known allergens/irritants goes a long way in keeping good health
- Avoid a sedentary life and start exercising regularly to keep your body fit. Exercising helps to improve the lung functions and also conditions the muscles. Contact your health care provider for details on the exercise that are good for you.
- Learn stress management techniques to effectively deal with stress
- Green tea which contains antioxidants is an effective home remedy for asthma. It may give some relief in treating asthma, when consumed regularly.
- Many people report improvement in symptoms after including ginger in their diet Stop smoking
Myths and Facts
Myth – I have asthma only when I have trouble in breathing and the rest of the time I am free from asthma.
Fact -This sort of thinking is the single most important reason for poor patient compliance in asthmatics. It is important to understand that asthma has episodes of acute attack during which its symptoms of breathlessness, cough and wheezing are seen. In between those attacks, the body still retains its asthmatic tendencies though they are not expressed outwardly. Therefore, to treat asthma
, it is not only important to take medications during the attack, but it’s also essential to take medication regularly in between the attacks to provide effective long term control of this disease.
Myth - Children tend to outgrow asthma and do not require long term medication.
Fact - While it is true that a small percentage of children do outgrow asthma, latest studies have shown that this is valid in a small percentage of cases. Many children show a reduction in their symptoms around the age of 5-7 years. However, a lot of these children report recurrence by the age of 13. On the other hand, there is significant percentage of children, who experience no reduction in their suffering with age. For such children, unless active medical intervention is done, asthma becomes very debilitating.
Myth - If you are suffering from asthma, exertion is strictly to be avoided.
Fact – If we carefully look around us, we will notice that there have been many famous athletes with asthma – people who have proven themselves in the area of sport, never letting their asthma to stop them from becoming the best. History is testimony to the fact that many professional basketball players, Olympic medalists, marathon runners, etc. have been asthmatic. If their asthma did not stop them from excelling in whatever they pursued, why should yours?
Myth - If you are asthmatic and pregnant, you can develop complications.
Fact- On the contrary 30% women experience reduction in their asthma symptoms during pregnancy. 30% report no change and 30% get slightly more breathless. Controlled asthma has no bearing on the development of baby in the mother's womb. However asthma is known to be hereditary. If a single parent has asthma, the child stands a 30% chance of developing it. If both parents have asthma, the risk goes up to 75%.
Breathe easy after Homeopathy Treatment for Asthma
In a research conducted by professors at the University of Glasgow, Europe's largest medical school, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials showed that over 80% patients given a homeopathic medicine for asthma showed improvement, while only 38% of patients given a placebo experienced a similar degree of relief. Isn’t it time you took your step towards getting treated with Homeopathy?
Our experience of treating more than 10,000 cases of asthma with homeopathy at Dr. Batra’s shows that majority of patients experience significant improvement in their health after commencing treatment. The individualized treatment provided to the patients at Dr. Batra’s has helped thousands to overcome their suffering and lead a healthy life again.
Our Chest Physician carefully evaluates the cases and regularly tracks as well as documents the improvement. With the help of the Spirometer, the asthmatic state of each patient is very closely monitored. Thus every case is given special attention with regards to the treatment.
Reduced frequency and severity of attacks, shorter duration of the attacks and overall improved resistance are some of the prime benefits of homeopathic treatment as reported by most of our patients.
It must be borne in mind that the treatment period may vary from case to case and depends on certain factors such as the age of patient, duration of the illness, frequency and severity of complaints, medication taken in the past, etc. Presence of other systemic illnesses in the patient may prolong the duration of treatment.
An interesting aspect about the treatment is that the homeopathic medicine for asthma is not the same for all people suffering with the condition. Case taking is done in-depth and the remedy may vary from person to person since it depends on many factors, few of which are as follows:
- The triggers of the asthmatic attack
- Seasonal worsening of the illness
- Effect of moon phases (full moon, new moon, etc.) on the condition
- Time of the day when the asthma is better or worse
- Whether condition is better or worse from lying down, sitting, walking, stooping, etc
- The effect of emotions, foods, etc. on the attack
After taking all these points (and many more) into consideration, the physician arrives at a constitutional remedy that heals the condition from the root level without causing any suppression.
In cases that are not very severe, homeopathy treatment for asthma can also help to reduce the need for conventional medications as well as reduce their dosage. There is reduced dependency on bronchodilators and steroid inhalers with continued homeopathic treatment. People who regularly use steroid inhalers (and large doses of the same for a long time) must watch out for side-effects of the same such as:
- Irritability, mood swings, aggression, depression and insomnia
- Stunted growth in children
- Steroid psychosis in severe cases
- Oral thrush or candidiasis
In severe cases of asthma, the role of homeopathic medicine for asthma is largely palliative. At any rate, homeopathy is strongly suggested for anyone who asthma, whatever is the stage of the illness.