Understanding This One Asthma Trigger Changes Everything
Asthma: When Your Body Overreacts
You can feel it coming on. Your chest tightens and it’s harder to breathe. You begin to wheeze or cough and you reach for your medication. Asthma has attacked again. Does this sound familiar? Have you ever wondered why you get asthma? What’s going on in the deep, dark world of your lungs and the one asthma trigger you should understand more?
When Your Immune System Jumps At Shadows
An asthma attack happens when your body senses a threat from an invader and goes on the defensive. The muscles around your airways tighten in what’s known as a bronchospasm; the mucous membranes that line your airways become irritated and inflamed, and they produce larger quantities of thicker mucous.The bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucous produce the symptoms of an asthma attack.
Unfortunately, your body doesn’t distinguish between real invaders and harmless foreign particles the way it should. The result is that all kinds of normally benign things can set off an attack, from colder air, changes in air temperature, and pollen to exercise and airborne chemicals.
The symptoms of asthma include:
- Wheezing (includes breaths in and out)
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or pressure
- Coughing that won’t stop
- Rapid breathing
- Sweaty, pale skin
- Blue tinge to lips and fingernails
- Feelings of panic and anxiety
In the majority of cases, attacks are quite mild and subside after a few minutes to a few hours. However, serious attacks can be fatal and need to be treated with the utmost urgency. Don’t delay in seeking medical attention in the case of a serious attack.
Asthma At The Cellular Level
When allergens enter the bloodstream, or some perceived threat occurs, the immune system comes out fighting. It produces an allergy antibody known as ig. This antibody attaches itself to basophils (a type of white blood cell) and mast cells, which line the walls of the airways and blood vessels. These cells are the main storage sites for serotonin and histamines. When the ig attaches itself to these cells, it pierces the cell wall, allowing the serotonin and histamines to leak out and enter the bloodstream. The immune system launches an inflammatory response and an allergic reaction follows. This includes sneezing, itching or watery eyes, swollen or runny nose, and asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath.
There is no known cure for asthma, but an array of asthma treatments are found in the asthma management toolkit. These include fast-acting beta agonists that act as bronchodilators for quickly opening the airways during an attack. Long-acting beta agonists and corticosteroids keep symptoms under control in the longer term, and preventer medications provide yet another approach.
There are also natural remedies that can be useful in asthma management. As most have no known side effects, they are usually safe to use in conjunction with conventional asthma medication.
Avoiding One Asthma Trigger
While triggers vary from person to person, there are some common ones that are worth considering if you have asthma. Sometimes asthmatics find their symptoms are triggered by something unusual that doesn’t affect other asthmatics, so it is worth observing the circumstances surrounding attacks to identify the trigger. Some of the common triggers include:
- Plant pollens
- Animal dander
- Cockroach droppings
- Dust mites
Food additives can be allergenic
- Dairy is an allergenic food that affects some people
- Some nuts
- Some fruit
- Soy products
- Some fish and crustaceans
- Certain medications
- Strenuous exercise
- Changes in air temperature/cold air
Natural Remedies For Asthma
The best natural remedies for asthma are plant-based anti-inflammatories. These include:
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Quercetin: This works by strengthening and stabilizing the walls of basophils and mast cells so that they are less vulnerable to being breached when ig comes along. With their pro-inflammatory contents safely contained, symptoms of an allergic or asthmatic attack are much less likely. Quercetin also helps to prevent the cells from releasing their contents into the bloodstream. It is not well absorbed by the body, so it is recommended that it is taken with bromelain for the best effect. Bromelain is an extract from pineapple juice and stems, it works by reducing the swelling caused by inflammation and also limits the activity of inflammatory substances released during the process of metabolism.
Serrapeptase is an enzyme used by the silkworm to break down its cocoon. It works by breaking down leukocytes (a type of white blood cell) and mucous, allowing the body to expel these unwanted substances. With the airways clear and lung function improved, the body is able to repair any damage to lung tissue. Curcumin works in several ways to control asthma. It helps to lower the levels of inflammatory enzymes that can trigger asthma symptoms. It also works as an expectorant, helping the lungs clear excess mucous, and as an antioxidant, scavenging the free radicals that cause inflammation.
Ginger works by inhibiting the activity of inflammatory enzymes that cause the symptoms of asthma, and it also acts as a relaxant on the smooth muscles of the airways, in much the same way a bronchodilator does.
You might never be totally asthma-free. However, by making a few simple lifestyle changes and adding some of these remedies to your asthma management kit, you could see substantial reduction in your symptoms, along with increased quality of life.