Saturday, December 16, 2017 7:19

Advice To Asthma Patients

Posted by on Thursday, December 17, 2009, 20:33
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Although many of my patients have had success with the following program, I only use the general guidelines discussed below after reviewing a patient’s personal and medical history, performing a thorough examination and evaluating the laboratory studies to make sure that the program will be beneficial.

Please see your own physician before embarking on any treatment for asthma. Asthma is a common respiratory problem in both adolescents and adults, affecting 5 to 8 percent of the population.

There has been a rise in the prevalence of asthma, the severity of many cases and an increase in deaths due to asthma. Since I do not treat children, what I have to say about preventing and treating asthma refers to adults.

  1. Diagnosis. The first step is to make a correct diagnosis. As we learned in medical school, “all that wheezes is not asthma.” Therefore, a careful history must be taken, with the doctor looking for symptoms such as cough, chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, exercise induced symptoms and more. The doctor should also look for certain conditions that are often associated with asthma, including allergic skin conditions, rhinitis (inflammation of nasal mucosa), sinusitis and even nasal polyps. During the physical examination, the doctor may hear wheezing while listening to the lungs. If the asthma struck early in Childhood, the patient may have developed a deformity called “pigeon chest,” in which the chest protrudes outward. Lung tests called spirometry are used to document the severity of the disease (and to measure improvement with treatment). It is very important that the physician rule out other conditions before making the diagnosis of asthma. These include: congestive heart failure, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, a pulmonary embolus (a blood clot in the lungs), laryngeal (“voice box”) dysfunction, mechanical obstruction of the airways and coughs caused bymedications, such as ACE inhibitors, used for high blood pressure.
  2. Remove the triggers. Having made the diagnosis of asthma, it is very important to identify the allergens substances that trigger the attacks. Common triggers include cigarette smoke, chemicals in the office or factory, pollens, molds, animal dander, plants, household cleansers, perfumes, house dust and mites. Once you’ve identified the triggers, the next step is to reduce your exposure to them or avoid them altogether.
  3. Strengthen the “doctor within.” Keeping the immune system, the “doctor within,” as strong as possible helps the body to withstand the asthma attacks that do Occur. Thus, I encourage my patients to adopt good nutritional habits, exercise as much as they are able, learn to deal with stress and so on. I recommend to my patients that they take the “ACES”:vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E in the form of d alpha tocopherol and the mineral selenium. These 4ACES are powerful antioxidants that help to strengthen the body’s resistance to disease. The newer antioxidants, such as aipha-lipoic acid and proanthocyanidins, are also of value.
  4. Use medications as necessary. Although I prefer to use drugs sparingly, medicines are often necessary to prevent asthma or to treat attacks in progress. “Allergy injections” may also help by increasing your immunity to allergens.

I know how terrifying  it can be when you can’t breathe. I’ve watched many patients, including my own son, suffer through attacks. The good news is that, with careful management, the number and severity of attacks can often be reduced. Many, many asthmatics are able to lead very active and happy lives.

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