Asthma – self help

Did you know that:

  • 5.2m people in theUK are  currently receiving treatment for asthma.
  • 1.1m children in theUK  are currently receiving treatment for asthma.
  • There is a person with asthma in one in five households in theUK.

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition which causes shortness of breath, wheezing and a feeling of suffocation.. When a person with asthma comes into contact with something that irritates their airways (an asthma trigger), the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten so that the airways become narrower and the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and starts to swell. Sometimes sticky mucus or phlegm builds up which can further narrow the airways. All these reactions cause the airways to become narrower and irritated – making it difficult to breath and leading to symptoms of asthma.

The main cause of asthma is a release of inflammatory chemicals, including histamine, which results in bronchial constriction. Attacks may be triggered by reactions to food, animal fur, dust mites or chemicals, or due to stress, respiratory infections or pollution.

Self – Help

The diet should be low in salt to reduce sensitivity to histamine. Food allergies seem to play an important role in asthma, including reactions to cow’s milk, wheat and artificial additives. A vegetarian/vegan diet has been proven to be beneficial in the treatment of asthma. Many sufferers find that keeping dust levels in the home low, and using synthetic pillows and duvets, or ionizers help. Progressive exercise and relaxation techniques can be helpful in some individuals, following medical advice.

Nutritional supplements that support the immune system and inhibit inflammatory chemicals may be useful for people with asthma.

Supplement How   much? Why?
High dose   multi-vitamin supplement Including   vitamin B6 (50 mg) and B12 (50mg) Immune   support
High dose   multi-mineral supplement Including   balanced calcium (250 mg), magnesium (500 mg) and good levels of zinc and   selenium Immune support
Vitamin C 1000 mg   daily (slow release), preferably with bioflavonoids Inhibits   inflammatory chemicals
Fish oils   (containing EPA and DHA), high potency.  This is not the same as cod   liver oil. 3 g daily Inhibits   inflammatory chemicals
Ginkgo   biloba Extract, high potency 120 mg   daily To dilate   (expand) the small blood vessels and inhibit inflammatory chemicals
Anthocyanidins   (e.g. grapeseed, bilberry extract) Inhibits   inflammatory chemicals

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