Asthma is a medical condition where person suffering from it has cough, difficulty in breathing, whistling sound when breathing out and shortness of breath. In asthma the airways are narrowed, inflamed and swollen because of excessive mucus secretion in the respiratory tract.Asthma Treatment in Ayurveda involves Panchakarma treatments, medication, diet, lifestyle changes to conrol symptoms For few people, this condition can be mild. For others, it can be a major health concern which hampers their day today activities and, in some situations, when the timely and appropriate treatment is not given, it can be life threatening and fatal too. A comprehensive approach is required for getting down the issues related to Asthma by avoiding triggering factors, lifestyle modifications, strict diet regime and effective medications to control the symptoms.
Symptoms of Asthma
The symptoms of Asthma vary from one individual to other and people might have symptoms during physical activities like exertion or few might have symptoms all the time.
Signs and Symptoms of Asthma
Cough or wheezing attacks that become worse by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
Shortness of breath
Feeling difficulty while sleeping because of congestion in the airways
Chest pain or difficulty in breathing
Wheezing sound when leaving the air out
When does the symptoms of Asthma flare up?
- Exercise induced Asthma – Here the symptoms get worse after strenuous physical activities like running, jogging, vigorous exercise etc
- Occupational asthma-Here the situation gets worse or symptoms gets triggered by the work place irritants like chemicals, gases, or dust
- Allergy induced asthma- Here the symptoms are worsened by airborne substances, such as pollen grains, molds, spores, or particles of skin and dried saliva shed by pets
- Environmental factors- Here the cold and dry air trigger or worsen the symptoms of asthma
What causes Chronic Asthma?
There isn’t still a very clear idea about the exact causes for the occurrence of asthma in few and in few the same factors don’t cause any issues. But it is probably due to both extrinsic factors like cold and dry air, Pollen grains, and intrinsic factors like inherited [genetic] factors.
What are the triggering factors of asthmatic attacks?
The triggering factors vary from one person to another and can include:
- Cold air
- Air pollutants and irritants, such as smoke
- Physical activity
- Airborne allergens such as dust mites, pollens, mold, spores, pet dander or particles of cockroach waste
- Respiratory infections, such as common cold or influenza
- Strong emotions and stress
- Certain medications like beta blockers, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs
- Gastro intestinal reflux diseases where the acid secreted in the stomach comes to the throat
- Certain food preservatives added to the food also triggers the symptoms of asthma
What are the factors, thought to increase the chances of developing asthma?
There are number of factors which are believed to increase the chances of getting affected with asthma. They include
- Having a family history of asthma
- Being obese or over weight
- Being a smoker
- Having another allergic condition such as atopic dermatitis
- Exposure to second-hand smoke
- Exposure to work place irritants like chemicals and gases
- Exposure to fumes or other types of pollution for longer time
What happens during asthma attack?
In a normal person, during the process of breathing the muscles around the airways are relaxed, letting the easy flow of air in and out of the respiratory tract. During an asthmatic attack, the following things happen
- Bronchospasm: The muscles around the airways tighten and when this happens, the airways become narrow and air flow will not happen freely
- Inflammation: The inner lining of the airways become swollen due to various reasons and due to this swelling airflow becomes very difficult
- Mucus production- A healthy and normal quantity of mucus secretion is necessary to keep the respiratory tract moist but excessive production of mucus happens in asthma there by clogging the airways
Are there types of asthma observed?
There are several types of asthma according to causative factors and severity of the condition
- Intermittent asthma- Here asthma attacks come and goes and patient feels better in between the two consecutive attacks
- Persistent – Here the asthma symptoms are present all the time which can be mild to moderate and if proper care and attention is not received at proper time it can be life threatening.
According to causes:
- Allergic – Allergens like pollens, shredded skin of pets, molds etc are the reasons for asthma
- Non-allergic – Factors like rigorous activities like running, exercise and factors like serious illness and wet and cold weather come under non allergic asthma
According to the age of onset
- Adult – onset asthma – This type of asthma starts after the age of 18 years
- Paediatric or childhood asthma – This type of asthma begins before the age of 5 and can occur in infants and toddlers too.
How is asthma generally treated?
- Bronchodilators: These are medicines which relax the swollen airways making the air movement easy
- Anti-inflammatory medicines: These medicines reduce swelling and mucus production in the respiratory pathways
Why proper care should be taken for persistent asthma attacks
A proper, timely, and rational approach should be taken in asthmatic attacks. If not, then many complications arise, which are as under;
- Signs and symptoms that are disrupting day today activities like sleeping, work, and other activities
- Not keeping well for more than a week because of cough and breathing difficulties
- Facing side effects of long-term usage of asthma controlling medications
Does Ayurveda treat asthma?/ Asthma Treatment in Ayurveda
According to Ayurveda asthma is a health condition which is related to Pranavaha sroto Dushti. Vata and kapha are main doshas which are involved in the asthma manifestation. Looking at the signs and symptoms of asthma, it can be roughly corelated to Tamaka Shwasa explained under the heading of Shwasa. We find a reference in Ayurveda where the difficulty in breathing and its other related signs and symptoms are understood under the heading of Shwasa Rogadhikara. There are 5 types of shwasa. They are
- Maha shwasa
- Urdhwa shwasa
- Chinna shwasa
- Kshudra shwasa
- Tamaka shwasa
Signs and symptoms of Tamaka shwasa
- Pratiloma vayu [prolonged expiration]
- Ghurghuraka [whistling or wheezing sound]
- Dyspnoea of exceedingly deep velocity
Asthma Treatment in Ayurveda
There are number of medicines available with Allopathic system of medicine to counter this issue, but they all come with various adverse drug reactions. Considering all the adverse drug reactions and limit the Allopathic system has, it is better to look up for Ayurveda for a comprehensive care for this most distressing respiratory issue. There has been extensive work done in Ayurveda to counteract the ill effects of asthma and is therefore a correct decision to search for Best Ayurveda Panchakarma treatment centre for a holistic care.
Asthma Treatment in Ayurveda
- Snehana and swedana – Internal and external oleation and sudation aims at checking the activity of vitiated vayu dosha. It is told in Ayurveda texts that whenever there is vata vitiation, it is best to start with snehana krama i.e., oleation. Internal and external oleation done appropriately takes care of vitiated vata dosha. This snehana therapy if rightly followed up with swedana or sudation treatment
- Purificatory treatments – There are five set of treatments prescribed in Ayurveda which aims in propelling the toxins out of the system, they are vamana, virechana, anuvasana vasti, asthapana vasti and nasya treatment. Vamana and Virechana are extensively used to treat the signs and symptoms of asthma effectively
- Disease controlling medications – Herbs and Herbo mineral preparations described in Ayurveda texts have been in clinical use since many hundreds of years and have been giving a sustainable result in many cases
- Disease modifying medicines – Medicines which modify the diseases are given
- Rasayana treatment – The treatment protocols which prevent and cure the asthma are given, which forms the main line of treatment in asthma
- Stress relieving treatment like shirodhara, shiro pichu, shiro abhyanga are done when stress is a triggering factor or complication of prolonged illness
Conclusion of Asthma Treatment in Ayurveda
As the asthma is chronic in nature and the causative factors are not clearly understood, it is better to prevent and take care of the issues, when the symptoms are mild in nature.