All you want to do is breathe deeply and fully. You want to fill your lungs with oxygen and feel satisfied. You want to do it rhythmically and naturally, without gasping for air, without fear or panic. But for 7% of the U.S. population the natural act of breathing often feels impossible. These are the people with asthma.
They describe having an asthma attack as being suddenly submerged in water and trying to breathe through it. Or an elephant sitting on their chest. While it’s the same for everyone in many ways, it’s also different for everyone, and even a person who has lived with asthma for a long time can have varying symptoms depending on their age and what triggers an episode. This means that treating asthma requires a highly individualized approach and a holistic physician skilled at getting to the root causes and providing long-lasting healing approaches to living with asthma.
Among the 25 million people in the U.S. who have asthma, it occurs most frequently in children under the age of 10. But it’s not just young children who are afflicted. Seven million children ages 10 – 17 and millions of adults have asthma. Worldwide, it affects adults into their 80’s, making asthma a chronic disease that affects people throughout their lifespan.
Asthma is a respiratory condition characterized by difficulty breathing due to narrowing of the airways leading to the lungs, including the nasal passageways, mouth and larynx. Symptoms are triggered by things that irritate the air passageways and immune system. When a person is having an asthma attack, they describe experiencing all or some of these symptoms:
An attack usually comes on suddenly but can be more gradual depending upon the trigger. It can disappear quickly, but if prolonged and severe enough, an asthma attack can result in death.
There are important differences between conventional and holistic physicians in how they view the causes and treatment of asthma. Understanding these differences can help you make informed choices regarding medical treatment.
Conventional medical practitioners recognize many of the factors that contribute to a diagnosis of asthma, including family history (it’s inherited from a parent who has asthma), frequent episodes of upper respiratory infection, a faulty response to intense exercise, and environmental triggers such as allergens, smoke or pollen. Conventional treatment, however, is primarily focused on managing symptoms and curtailing acute asthma attacks without fully addressing the underlying causes. While a steroid inhaler may be a lifesaving component of treatment, it’s not without side effects such as weight gain, suppressing immunity, and disrupting endocrine and metabolic function with prolonged use.
Holistic physicians take into account all the factors a conventional doctor considers, and dig deeper to identify potential root causes, which might include:
A holistic physician will look at how conventional drug therapies that suppress immunity may have affected your immune system, resulting in asthma. Critical Warning: If you are seeking treatment from a holistic physician and if you are currently using an inhaler to treat asthma – do not stop using it! This could result in status asthmaticus, which is potentially fatal if a patient stops suddenly without the supervision of a properly trained doctor of natural medicine who has identified the root cause of the asthma and implemented a treatment plan.
From a natural medicine approach, asthma symptoms can usually be improved or resolved with lifestyle changes and treatments that address the underlying breaches of good health. Depending upon the age of the patient, specific symptoms, and medical history, treatment might include:
These are just a few examples of possible treatment approaches. A trained holistic physician will conduct a thorough examination and formulate an individualized treatment plan based on your medical history and immediate healthcare needs.
While asthma can be life-threatening, when under the care of a properly trained holistic physician, the root cause, or causes, can be identified, treated and the condition resolved. As always, it’s important to speak with your holistic physician before making any changes to your treatment plan.