Even today, asthma is something that is poorly understood
Often thought to be a childhood problem, the truth is that it can be triggered at any age. In fact, adults account for the majority of those who suffer from asthma.
Some people imagine that it's nothing worse than a bad cold or the flu. For those who have experienced asthma, though, it can be a frightening and very uncomfortable occurrence.
Simply put, asthma is a condition that affects the airways and breathing of the person who has it. It is triggered when the airway comes into contact with something that irritates the lining, causing it to become inflamed and begin to swell. Mucus can then build up, which narrows the airways even more.
Such narrowing has a tightening and constrictive affect on the airways, which causes difficulty in breathing -- what we know as asthma. The wheezing, shortness of breath and feelings of tightness in the chest so common in asthma can easily fill the person with a sense of real fear, making them feel as if they are being asphyxiated.
Triggers for asthma differ from individual to individual, depending on the person's particular sensitivities. What might prove irritating for one asthmatic person can be quite inoffensive and harmless for another. An important element in asthma control is learning about your individual triggers and then avoiding them as much as possible.
Sometimes the asthma trigger may be obvious - pet dander, cat or dog hair, for example - in which case the asthma symptoms will follow relatively soon after exposure to such things. But often the trigger may not be at all obvious, only producing symptoms much later, in what is know as a delayed reaction.
The very first thing to do when experiencing any kind of difficulty with breathing is to consult a medical doctor. Nowadays, advanced treatments can offer the asthmatic person the opportunity to live a normal and full life. Following a diagnosis of asthma, an inhaler or nebulizer is often prescribed which can be used in order to calm inflammation and lessen the severity of the reaction to the trigger. Sometimes preventer medication and or steroids are advised in order to deal with acute symptoms.
Physical activity can play an important role in asthma prevention, yet it is estimated that around 80% of people who suffer from asthma simply fail to get the right amount of exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight, combined with physical exercise helps to improve lung function, easing breathing.
Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet, including a variety of different fresh fruit and vegetables can help enormously in controlling asthma. Additionally, specific foods have been shown to protect against asthma and assist lung function.
A body of research has demonstrated that eating vitamin C rich foods such as kiwis, strawberries and citrus fruit may have a protective affect on the respiratory symptoms of asthma.
In one Italian study that followed more than 18,000 children researches found that those eating the most vitamin C-containing fruit had 44% fewer incidents of wheezing and respiratory symptoms than children consuming less such fruit. Further, breath shortness was lessened by 32%, and chronic cough by 25%.
The study found that children who had already been diagnosed with asthma when the study began benefitted the most. Even amongst those children who ate fruit only once or twice a week fruit's protective effects were evident.
Dutch research has confirmed these findings, demonstrating that people who ate the most fruit and vegetables had the healthiest lung function.
Foods that contain vitamin E and C are believed to help reduce the inflammatory response in the lungs of people who experience asthma.
Managing stress levels can also be critical in preventing asthma attacks. Learning relaxation techniques and knowing how to de-stress can be of enormous help. A really effective way of letting go of stress is by listening to therapeutic self-hypnosis recordings specifically designed for the purpose.
If you have been diagnosed with asthma, then follow your doctor's instructions, learn your particular triggers, combine this understanding with exercise, healthy eating and stress management and you can lead a fully active, normal and healthy life.
DISCLAIMER: This article is provided for general information purposes only and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.
Peter Field holds hypnotherapy clinics in London and Birmingham, UK. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of health, and Member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. His self hypnosis download is now available at: http://www.hypnosiscdmp3downloads.com For more info on therapy, please visit: http://www.peterfieldhypnotherapy.co.uk
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