Asthma

Posted by Deborah on July 13, 2016

 Salt Therapy for Asthma

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 What is Asthma?

 Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that narrows and inflames the airways, causing them to become very swollen and sensitive. This causes tightening which then narrows the tubes that allow air to flow to and from your lungs (bronchi), causing bouts of spasms in the lungs and difficulty in breathing.

 The cells in the airways can the begin to produce more mucus as a protective measure. This excess mucus can in turn, narrow the passages further, causing symptoms to worsen.

Asthma is a fairly common illness, affecting people of all ages, although typically it begins to develop in childhood. Symptoms can generally be maintained and controlled effectively by most sufferers, although some have more severe and persistent problems. 

Symptoms of Asthma

  The symptoms of asthma vary from mild to severe. Some find their problems more persistent or frequent than others, and not all symptoms present in every sufferer.

Symptoms include;
  • Wheezing (a whistling or squeaking sound when breathing)
  • Tight chest
  • Shortness of breath / Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing (especially during walking / exercise)

 Many find these more persistent at night or soon after waking. Others find that their symptoms worsen when they come into contact with a ‘trigger’, which is the name for something that irritates the suffers already sensitive airways. This can heightened symptoms and can lead to what is known as an ‘Asthma attack’

Most of the time people can keep their Asthma under control by taking the proper medication, as directed, and avoiding ‘triggers’ when possible. However, a small percentage of those suffering the effects of Asthma do not respond to prescribed treatments.

Causes of Asthma

 It is not clear what exactly causes asthma, but there are a number of factors than can contribute to a person suffering from this illness. 

 If you have a family history of allergies such as asthma, eczema, food allergies and hay fever it is fairly likely that you will develop some form of this condition. Your childhood health can also be a contributing factor, as those born prematurely or under weight or even if you had childhood bronchiolitis, you are at a higher risk of developing asthma at some point throughout your life. 

 Environmental factors can also play a role. Being exposed to air pollution, smoking or being around cigarette smoke from a young age, chlorine in swimming pools and modern hygiene standards (hygiene hypothesis) can all lead to these symptoms developing. 

 Adult women can also develop asthma before or after the menopause, this is because hormone levels have an effect on this condition.

Asthma triggers

 When asthma sufferers come into contact with a ‘trigger’ this can make their symptoms worsen. These triggers cause the airways, which are the tubes which carry air to and from our lungs, to inflame and the muscles around them to tighten. This leads to narrowing of the airways. As well as this, more mucus (phlegm) is produced in these small tubes, this can lead to further narrowing and increased difficulty in breathing. 

 There are many things that can be an Asthma ‘trigger’ 
  • Respiratory tract infection, such as colds as flus. 
  • Allergens such as dust, pollen, animal fur and feathers
  • Airborne irritants such as pollution, smoke, tobacco smoke and chemical fumes
  • Medicines, particularly those that come under the bracket of ‘Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)’. Such as aspirin, ibuprofen and beta blockers
  • Stress and anxiety, or other times of high emotion
  • Foods which contain sulphates, such as those found in concentrated fruit juice, jam, prawns and many processed or pre cooked meals
  • Indoor conditions. Such as molds and Fungi, dampness or chemicals in flooring or carpets
  • Female Hormones, especially just before or after the menopause
  • Exercise
  • Food allergies
  • The weather, especially drastic weather conditions or sudden changes. As well as poor air quality 

 Avoiding and recognising your personal triggers can all help you to maintain your symptoms. Taking medication as directed can help you to maintain flare ups caused by these triggers.

Occupational asthma

Some people are also at risk due to the nature of their job and its conditions, this is what is known as occupational asthma. This is when asthma is caused by substances you have been exposed to in the work place. The most common occupations linked to this form of asthma include

  • Cooks, bakers and pastry makers.
  • Healthcare and dental care workers.
  • Laboratory animal workers.
  • Car repairers, spray painters.
  • Electricians.
  • Those working in welding, soldering and metalwork.
  • Woodworkers.
  • Food processing workers.
  • Chemical processing workers.
  • Textile, plastics and rubber manufacturing workers.
  • Farmers.
  • Cleaners.
  • Those working in other jobs exposed to dusts and fumes.
  • Hairdressers.

  Long term exposure to substances such as floor and dust grains, isocyanates (chemicals found in spray paint), latex, animals, wood dust, colophony (found in solder fumes) all increase the risk of developing this condition.

Treating Asthma

 Unfortunately there is no known cure for asthma, however your symptoms can be maintained with a range of treatments and medications. Whilst some sufferers find their condition is mild and at times symptoms can disappear unaided. In others the symptoms are extreme. When your condition and symptoms worsen, whether over a long period of time or very quickly, this is what is known as an ‘Asthma Attack’. 

 For most people the treatment plans provided by your GP allow you to generally keep your symptoms under control when used as prescribed. However it can take some time to find which is right for you

 Inhalers 

 An inhaler is a device which users breathe is to deliver medication directly to the lungs. Thus making this type of treatment direct, fast and effective. Your inhaler and how you use it should be checked regularly by your GP.

Spacers

 A spacer is a hollow plastic metal container with a mouthpiece and a hole for an inhaler. For those under three, this can sometimes be attached to a face mask rather than a mouthpiece to make is easier for them to breathe in the medication. 

 The vapour from the inhaler is released into a container where it is held to allow you to breathe it in gradually. As the spacer improves how the medication is distributed in the lungs, regular use is often preferred. Even in those who cope well for inhalers, however this method is particularly aimed toward those who find taking inhalers difficult. 

Salt Therapy for Asthma

 As Salt Therapy is a completely drug free, and safe, complimentary therapy it can be used alongside your current asthma medication. Using salt therapy can not only relieve your symptoms but could also see them returning less frequently. With the hope that you may even need your Inhalers less often. Providing you much more long term relief and helping to prevent chronic inflammation which can lead to lungs becoming obstructed. Inhaling the particles widens the airways and the anti bacterial properties can actually promote healing in the bronchial tubes. This will lead to better flow of air to and from your lungs, allowing you to breath more easily. 

How salt therapy can help; 
  • Improve lung function
  • Reduce the need for inhalers and antibiotics
  • Kills Bacteria and strengthen your immune system
  • Alleviate coughing 
  • Breaks down mucus clearing the airways
  • Reduces IgE levels which will stop the immune system over reacting to triggers and allergens

 Whilst salt therapy can be a great aid to reducing and maintaining your symptoms. Salt therapy is not a cure for asthma, so it is always advised that you take other medication, and follow your care plan, as instructed by your GP

 If you would like to speak to us about how salt therapy can help you to maintain your symptoms of asthma or other respiratory illness, get in touch for further information on 0141 212 8700

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