Friday, 25 February 2011


Asthma is an irritation of the bronchial tree in the lungs which causes narrowing of the airways but even people who have had it for many years can help control the severity.
There are many types of asthma, but the most common ones are Atopic and Non Atopic.
Atopic asthma starts in childhood, there is a strong genetic link with family members either having asthma or eczema. Many attacks are provoked by inhaled allergens such as dust mite, pollens, animals.
Non Atopic asthma is usually related to recurrent respiratory tract infections e.g. chronic bronchitis.
Most sufferers may take inhalers. There are two types:

* Bronchodilaters which open airways and help to relax the muscles of the lungs such as Salbutamol.
* Inhaled steroids which are a strong local anti inflammatory agent such as Beclometasone.

Most people will complain of tightness in the chest, wheezing at night and shortness of breath on exercise however symptoms can vary.
Continuous steroid use is not ideal as it may cause a decrease in bone density leading to other problems therefore finding other methods to help is advisable such as exercise or manual therapy.

Advice: Whether you are a young sufferer or older, swimming is a fantastic exercise is helps to strengthen the muscles of your lungs. It also helps you to retrain your breathing pattern, which many asthmatics find difficult.
As the water is cold it would be advised to warm up prior to swimming as some asthmatics find the cold air may be a trigger to to an attack. Warming down is just as important.
Breathing exercises learnt in yoga also may prove to be beneficial as you are concentrating on every breath and trying to control it. So if you were to have an attack you may be able to use the principals of yoga as a preventative.

As asthmatics tend to be upper rib breathers and can't get sufficient air in to their lungs and hence shallow breathe, manual therapy such as osteopathy can help asthmatics, treating various areas such as the chest, neck and diaphragm. For any advice or to make an appointment please do not hesitate to call Health & Harmony.

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