AsthmaThere are two types of asthma patients – those who would like to know everything about asthma and the others who are irresponsibly ignorant about it. A patient who is not properly informed about the disease and its consequences has a poor prognosis.
Asthma occurs in the form of attacks of coughing, wheezing and breathlessness and is completely reversible. The duration of attack varies. Sometimes it occurs during certain seasons or with seasonal changes or might even persist throughout the year.
The specific cause of asthma is not known. It is observed that asthma begins in childhood in a majority of cases, and in most bronchial asthma sufferers there will be a family history of the allergy. The allergy may manifest itself as rhinitis, eczema or urticarial rash or asthma. If both parents suffer from some from of allergy, the chances of their child developing asthma at a young age is greater.
In some cases asthma starts at a later age and are often not associated with a specific allergic or triggering factors. Longstanding cases of bronchial asthma may result in many complications, especially if inadequately treated.
Emphysema, a permanent destruction of alveolar air spaces resulting in reduced elastic recoil of lungs, is the commonest complication. Cor pulmonale, where the heart is also involved, is another complication.
Children face the problem of stunted growth and are more prone to rib fractures. Most patients with bronchial asthma can adjust very well and continue to lead a normal life if early indications of asthma attack are taken care of and treated. Hence thorough education of the patient about the disease goes a long way in the treatment of asthma.
Treatment of bronchial asthma in an impending attack
- Not to panic, for anxiety will accentuate the attack.
- Rest and relaxation: Sit down in a chair for 10 minutes as resting helps lungs relax. Breathe slowly taking small puffs of air through pursed lips.
- One should take rest in a warm, well–ventilated room.
- Bedclothes should be warm.
- Patient should be supported by pillows in a semi–recumbent or upright position.
- Fasting with vegetable soup and hot honey water is helpful.
- Take an enema, as emptying of bowels will relieve pressure on the lungs.
- Plenty of warm liquids relax the air passages by fomenting the wind pipe (which is in front of the food pipe). Liquids also thin the mucus and replace the water lost during forced breathing.
- Gentle spinal massage followed by hot fomentation to back and neutral chest pack help relax bronchial muscles. Hot fomentation softens the mucus and chest pack and relieves congestion in the lungs.
- Try exhaling forcefully through a drinking straw inserted into a large bottle of water. The resistance of the water will force the expansion of bronchial tubes by creating positive pressure in the lungs.
- Facial steam will clear upper respiratory secretions.
- Hot foot bath relieves congestion by diverting blood flow to the limbs.