When it comes to asthma, the numbers speak for themselves: Asthma cases have seen an increase of over 60 percent since the 1980s. Asthma-related deaths amount to 5,000 cases per year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that roughly 20 million people in the United States presently have asthma. In some cases, those who have the condition do not even know it, attributing their symptoms to other maladies.
Unlike twenty years ago, asthma and the use of inhalers are now widespread. It is no longer unusual to find many children in a single classroom experiencing breathing difficulties. In the present climate, researchers are left to speculate why asthma cases have seen such a marked increase. Genetics and environmental exposure to possible allergens are likely culprits. Nowadays, people are exposed to a vast amount of potential allergens such as cleaning products, and formaldehyde preservatives that go into carpets and furniture.
Air quality also plays a factor. Drafty houses that bring in fresh air to dry and freshen up the air inside and also clear out mold and other allergens. Unfortunately, many modern houses are too insulated; basements, for example, are known for increasing mold exposure. Those who spend a lot of time in them are likely to have regular contact with mold and other allergens.
Another source of allergen exposure comes in the form of food, especially, manufactured foods with preservatives. Vaccinations and antibiotics may also figure in, contributing to the overall picture.
Since asthma is a chronic condition, it can’t be cured. It can, however, be managed. Consulting with both primary care physicians and asthma specialists such as an allergist, are recommended for solid treatment results. Experts advise asthma patients to identify specific allergens and to seek ways to reduce exposure to substances that provoke aggravated episodes. This is in addition to any medication taken.
Allergens, however, is just one of the factors that affect asthma symptoms and attacks. Stress also plays a role. Moving to a new town, divorce, a new school, and challenging situations may trigger asthma attacks. Moreover, strong emotional outbursts such as anger, fear, and even laughter, can provoke an attack.
Chiropractic & Asthma
In order to address the patient’s stress level and improve the asthma patient’s quality of life, alternative treatment methods should be considered. Relaxation techniques employed by the likes of meditation, yoga, massage, acupuncture, and breathing exercises can be very beneficial. Clinical evidence has also shown that chiropractic care and manipulation help asthma patients.
A clinical trial showed that asthma patients treated with chiropractic treatment experienced significant improvement of bronchial hyper-reactivity and saw a decrease in asthma severity. Another comprehensive clinical trial reported that the patient group that was treated with spinal manipulation showed significant improvement in asthma symptoms.
Doctors of chiropractic offer a thorough evaluation of asthma patients, examining their overall physical and neurological data, as well as their diet, lifestyle and potential stressors. In this way, chiropractic care can offer invaluable support to the asthma treatment team. They work with patients to improve their motor coordination, respiratory and stomach muscles, as well as look into their overall quality of life.
Tips to Reduce Asthma Symptoms
To alleviate symptoms, here are a few tips suggested by experts:
• Get checked for viral respiratory infections and other conditions. Once these conditions are treated, asthma symptoms are also likely to improve.
• Be aware that endocrine factors, such as pregnancy and thyroid disease, may also worsen asthma symptoms.
• Use hypoallergenic bedding to lessen exposure to dust mites.
• If exercising provokes attacks, consider getting an individualized program prescribed for your needs. Your chiropractic care doctor can assist you with this.
• Medications such as beta-blockers (eye drops, for instance), aspirin, and anti-inflammatory drugs, can also induce or exacerbate symptoms.
• Watch out for foods with sulfites or monosodium glutamate (MSG). These additives are used in many foods, so be sure to carefully scan labels, and eat in restaurants that are conscious of MSG.
• Aim to eliminate or eat less meat. Animal proteins include arachidonic acid, which may aggravate inflammation.
• Eat foods rich in omeg