Dr B. S. Suvarna
B.A, D.I.Hom[Lond.], M.I.H, PhD,PGDPC(Psychotherapy & Counselling, USA)
MAMTHA HOMOEO CLINIC
Jeevan Shanthi, Near AIT Girls Hostel, Bypass Road, Kalyan Nagar, CHIKMAGALUR 577102
Karnataka State, INDIA
Asthma is derived from the Greek word “panos “which means panting ( fast breathing ) , there are various notions about what asthma is , but it is always advisable to have a clear concept so as to be able to differentiate it from other diseases displaying almost similar symptoms , if detected correctly early enough it can be stopped from aggravating.
Asthma is a chronic , inflammatory lung disease characterized by recurrent breathing problems , people with asthma have acute episodes when the air passages in their lungs get narrower and breathing becomes more difficult . The narrowing of the air passage in asthma is usually due to inflammation in the inner walls of the wind pipe or trachea and also the bronchioles or smaller tubes letting in air to the lungs two factors provoke asthma
Triggers : triggers tighten airways ( broncho constriction )
Causes : causes ( or inducers ) result in inflammation of the air ways
Some common triggers of asthma attacks are :
- infections like colds or bronchitis
- changes in the weather ( from mild to cold )
Triggers initiate the airways and result in bronchoconstriction , symptoms and bronchoconstriction caused by triggers tend to be immediate , short lived and rapidly reversible , the wind pipe or trachea will react more quickly to triggers if inflammation is already present.
Causes or inducers :
Inducers cause both airway inflammation and hyper responsiveness , inducers result in symptoms , which may last longer , are delayed and less easily reversible than those caused by triggers , the most common inducers are –allergens , respiratory viral infections.
Allergens : the most common inhaled allergens include :
- pollen (of grasses , trees and weeds ) – sudden upsurge of pollen in the environment
- animal secretions ( cats and other hairy animals tend to be to the most allergy –causing )
- house dust mites
- paintings and distemper
Exposure to allergens ( for instance cat secretions ) may cause immediate symptoms such as wheezing or cough , this occurs because airways are hyper responsive and react by tightening , the narrowing or obstruction of the air passage can cause one or a combination of the following symptoms :
Wheezing , coughing , shortness of breath , tightness in the chest , exposure to allergens such as pollen may cause immediate symptoms of wheezing or cough .
Respiratory viral infections : in children , respiratory viral infections may worsen asthma . A respiratory viral infection is probably one of the most common causes of asthma . In some cases , the influenza vaccine is indicated , this may help to prevent respiratory complications , that can occur because of influenza.
Sedentary life style : the modern life style may seem to be very convenient but being erratic it weakens our immune system , resulting in many kinds of diseases , asthma is one of them , junk food containing lots of artificial elements like preservatives and synthetic colors can behave as allergens . A weak immune system enables allergens to attack very easily .
Detection of asthma : now how can one find out if a child or an adult is susceptible to asthma ? since asthma is more of a hereditary disease , a person who has the disease in his genes will be more triggers and inducers . He may not develop asthma at all , if he keeps away from the triggers and allergens , there fore , if asthma runs in the family ,take special care of the children , if a child has the tendency to show any of the symptoms , take him to the doctor immediately to find out if he has asthma , the other very important point ( to be discussed in later chapters ) is the need to take precautionary measures for children , especially of families with a history of asthma.
The symptoms of asthma vary from person to person , it is important to remember that many of these symptoms can be subtle and similar to those seen in other conditions .
All of the symptoms mentioned below can be present in other respiratory and some times in heart conditions . This potential confusion makes identifying the settings in which the symptoms occur and diagnostic testing becomes very important in recognizing this disorder .
Wheezing : wheezing is the whistling or rattling sound that occurs when air flows through obstructed airways . At the beginning of an asthma attack , wheezing usually occurs only while exhaling , but as the attack progresses , wheezing may be heard both while inhaling and exhaling , as the attack progresses , the asthmatic stops wheezing; this may indicate that most of the bronchioles are completely blocked , which is a very serious condition .
Cough : another symptom is cough , which is usually dry , if your child or any body in the family has very chronic cough without mucus flow and complains of irritation in the throat and the breathing passage , do not rule out asthma .
Broncho spasm (tightening of bronchioles ) : this is another indicator for asthma . An asthma patient may complain of severe chest pain and breathing problemsc . The muscles around the bronchial tubes tighten during an asthma attack . This muscles constriction of the airways is called broncho spasm , chemical mediator and nervous in the bronchial tubes cause the muscles to constrict .
Types of Asthma : asthma can be classified on the basis of the triggers of an asthma episode or the things that aggravate asthma , types of asthma include steroid –resistant nocturnal occupational and exercise induced .
Exercise –induced asthma : exercising leads to stress , which could be a cause of asthma . But the most obvious reason here is that a patient suffering from asthma already has an inflamed trachea . Exercise involves rigorous breathing , where carbon dioxide is exhaled and oxygen –rich fresh air is inhaled , thus the patient may not be able to breath rigorously because of the inflammation with in.
Nocturnal Asthma : most of the asthmatic attacks are during the night when there is no sun light and the germs , viruses and insects are most active . also there is more carbondioxide in the atmosphere during the night . All this makes breathing difficult for an asthma patient .
Occupational asthma : the cause of this type of asthma is stress at the work place , exposure to dust or mites in the work place can also cause this type of asthma .
Steroid resistant asthma or severe asthma : This is a severe form of asthma in which even steroids are not effective , this kind of asthma calls for a rather complex treatment . A person who has an inflamed trachea could develop breathing problems while doing exercises , during an attack , it is harder to breathe out than breathe in and the patient feels he is choking because air gets trapped inside .
The inner lining of the bronchial tubes , called the bronchial mucosa, contains:
Mucus glands that produce just enough mucus to lubricate the airways ; and a variety of so called inflammatory cells , such as eosinophils , lymphocytes , and mast cells , these cells are designed to protect the bronchial mucosa from the inhaled micro-organisms , allergens and irritants we inhale and which can also cause the bronchial tissue to swell . In normal conditions the muscles that wrap around the airways in the lungs are very thin and loose and the airways is wide open . This makes it easy for air to move in and out of the sacs . During an asthma attack , the muscles around the airways tighten and the lining inside the airways swell or thicken and get clogged with lots of thick mucus , this makes the airways much narrower than usual so that it becomes tougher for air to move in and out of the air sacs , this makes breathing difficult . During an asthma attack , it is actually harder to breath out than breath in , this means that during an attack , it takes much larger to breathe out than it does to breathe in .
Since it is so hard to breathe out during an asthma attack , more and more air gets trapped inside the lungs giving a feeling of choking .
Asthma in children : children are very sensitive and very easily affected by diseases , especially those that have external factors as inducers . The many possible triggers of asthma largely explain the different ways in which an asthma attack can occur . in most cases , the disease starts at the age of 2-6 years , in this age group , the causes of asthma are often linked to exposure to allergens , such as dust mites and tobacco smoke and viral respiratory infections , in very young children below 2 years , asthma can be difficult to diagnose with certainty .
Family history is another very crucial factor in determining how susceptible a child is to asthma . Extra care should be given to children of families that have a history of asthma , it could surface with exposure to any trigger or inducer .
Asthma could be extrinsic or intrinsic , extrinsic asthma is more common and typically develops in childhood , 80 % of children with asthma also have documented allergies . Typically there is a family history of allergies , allergic asthma often goes into remission in early adulthood . however , in 75 % of cases the asthma reappears later , take extra care of children if your family has a history of asthma , avoid exposing the child to triggers .
Homoeopathic Treatment :
A). For chronic cases :
By anti- miasmatic : Asthma is a poly miasmatic disease though only one miasm dominates at a time , it can be –Psoric :give antipsoric remedy
Sycotic : give antisycotic remedy
Tubercular : give anti tubercular remedy
Syphilitic : give anti syphilitic remedy
By constitutional remedies : these can be given inter currently
B.) For sub-acute cases : A few important remedies are ars. alb.,ipecac , aralia, kali carb , tylophora indica etc.
C ). Acute prescription based on : Decubitus or position of patient . causation . season or weather . modalities .
Prevention of Asthma :
Various factors indicating unfavourable prognosis towards asthma can be treated in child hood and asthma can be prevented to develop in later stages of life .
As to the homoeopathic treatment of asthma how are we to find the remedy if the patient has no marked general or mental symptoms .the time of the paroxysm is nearly always regular and definite and the time modality is one of the most important modalities we can have .the time of occurrence of paroxysm will generally bring two or three remedies to one’s mind immediately .for instance there is the aggravation just after midnight of “arsenic”the 3am of “kali carb” the 4 am of “nux vom’ etc. then we must notice the other modalities ,pertaining to the paroxysms e.g, whether eating relieves or aggravates ;the effect of heat and cold etc,only do not attach any importance to modalities peculiar to the disease eg relief from sitting up in bed .such have no value at all in finding the remedy then notice the accompaniments of the paroxysm eg intense anxiety .fear of death but do not lay stress on such a symptom as this unless it is very well marked ,as anxiety is a normal feature of the asthmatic seizure .finally take note of any other rare and peculiar symptoms .if necessary ,examine the past history and family history of the patient ,enquiring about suppressed eruptions or sweats and bad vaccination, arms and asking if there is phthisis in the family .when the remedy is found give it in single dose and don’t be in a hurry to repeat .i will now give a few illustrative cases showing the need for different remedies
Case No. – 4
When the apparently indicated remedy ails to act , the experienced homoeopath knows what to do . Here is a blond, blue eyed boy two years of age . His face is a bright red ; his breathing difficult and wheezing , worse on lying down his temperature 103 degree , he has a loose rattling cough and occasionally he raises a gob of yellowish green mucus . He is quite thirsty , there he sits half propped up in bed , making no complaint , but placidly enduring his suffering . the remedy ? –ferrum phos of course , but the next morning he was worse , his chest was filling with mucus and he seemed much weaker , some thing was interfering with the remedy . I asked the mother what position the boy took during sleep ; she replied –on his stomach . this settled the matter . I placed a dose of medorrhinum 10M on his tongue . A remarkable change took place over night . the rattles in chest had abated considerably the temperature had dropped to 101 degree and his face was covered with a measly rash . I had not thought of looking in his mouth or the diagnosis would have been certain . The little fellow passed through the regular course of an ordinary case of measles and made a rapid recovery with no further medication .
A boy aged 8 years , had asthma since four years , worse at night , relieved by motion , relieved in damp weather . patient is not worse from heat or cold ; wants open air , very highly strung , fond of company used to crave salt , lack of vital heat , paroxysms at at 10 or 11 every night , worse from pastry , nuts suet puddings (common symptoms) , worse from damp air , worse when mentally depressed I had given phosphorous 200 one dose on may 5th 1992 . Again on june 2nd , signs of asthma appeared , I had given phosphorous 200 one dose . it was found second dose had not been so effective as the first . So I had given every alternative night one dose of phosphorous 200 . On sept. 4th slight return , again repeated phos 200 one dose . sept. 22nd , signs of asthma again.
A family history of tuberculosis , tuberculinum 1M one dose . improvement began at once , again followed phosphorous 1M one dose , after which the asthma was worse for a week , then better . Since then he has had a dose of phosphorous 1M every two or three months as necessary at lengthening intervals and he was cured well completely .