Naturopathy Offers Hope for Asthma Sufferers
Naturopathy is still not the preferred means of medical care among most Americans, but we are working on it. My colleagues and I are constantly looking for new and proven treatment options that give our patients more choices for dealing with their health issues and achieving a more complete wellness. One example is our approach to treating asthma.
Asthma is a condition characterized by a combination of inflammation and spasms in the lungs that inhibit breathing. Symptoms can range from minor wheezing to serious, potentially life-threatening breathing problems requiring immediate medical attention. Furthermore, the disease is as mentally and emotionally frightening as it is physically dangerous.
What fascinates us as naturopaths is the fact that some 90% of children diagnosed with asthma also have allergies. Approximately 70% of asthma patients between the ages of 16 and 30 also have allergies. This tells us that there may be a significant link between the two. The naturopath is more likely to look at how asthma and allergies interact as a result.
Reduced Allergen Exposure First
Though naturopathic treatments tend to be highly customized for the individual patient, a common practice among treatment providers is first to eliminate exposure to airborne allergens when treating asthma. The thing is, this is sometimes easier said than done. We first have to determine what allergens trigger reactions before we can limit exposure to them. We can do this by running skin or blood tests.
Sometimes, airborne allergens either do not affect the patient at all or do affect the patient but don’t seem to have a tremendous impact on asthma. We then have to move on to possible food allergies. A link between food allergies in younger asthma patients is actually fairly common, especially when asthma is diagnosed very early in life.
One of the things we fight in the treatment of allergies and asthma is a common perception that all food allergies result in anaphylactic symptoms, such as those commonly associated with peanut allergies. But this is not true. There have been numerous studies demonstrating that the vast majority of people who have food allergies don’t know it because they do not present anaphylactic symptoms. Furthermore, the symptoms they do present are not recognized as allergy symptoms by doctors.
Asthma as an Allergic Reaction
When either airborne or food allergies are demonstrated in an asthma patient, we then start to look at the symptoms of asthma as a possible allergic reaction. Just like inflammation in the eyes and nasal cavities can be a symptom of hay fever allergies, inflammation in the lungs can sometimes be a symptom of an airborne or food allergy. Removing exposure to suspected allergens should help keep lung inflammation under control and ease the symptoms of asthma.
I must be careful to state that eliminating allergen exposure does not necessarily mean all the symptoms of asthma will be mitigated. Often, we have to treat both together in order to see
maximum improvement. The point to be made here is that treating allergies first almost always makes it easier to treat asthma in patients suffering from both.
Are you suffering from asthma? If so, have you and your doctor ever considered the possibility that your asthma symptoms may be related to an airborne or food allergy? The link between the two is undeniable, so you owe it to yourself to at least investigate the possibility that your asthma is allergy-related. I encourage you to consider making an appointment with a naturopath willing to discuss the possibilities with you.