What is it?
Asthma is a common long-term condition that can cause coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and breathlessness. It's not clear exactly what causes asthma, although it is likely to be a combination of factors such as genetics and environmental factoring including pollutions ad hygiene.
If you have typical asthma symptoms, your GP will often be able to make a diagnosis.
They will want to know when the symptoms happen and how often, and if you have noticed anything that might trigger them. Your GP may also ask whether you have any allergic (atopic) conditions such as eczema and hay fever, which often occur alongside asthma. The GP will run tests:
Spirometry - A breathing test called spirometry will often be carried out to assess how well your lungs work. The spirometer takes two measurements – the volume of air you can breathe out in the first second of exhalation, and the total amount of air you breathe out. The readings are then compared with average measurements for people your age, sex and height, which can show if your airways are obstructed.
Peak expiratory flow test - A small hand-held device known as a peak flow meter can be used to measure how fast you can blow air out of your lungs in one breath. This is your peak expiratory flow and the test is usually called a peak flow test. May ask someone to take home and use. Once GP has results they may refer you to a specialist to confirm diagnosis. There are also other tests available.
Therapy and treatment
Asthma medicines are usually given by inhalers – devices that deliver medication directly into the lungs as you breathe in, goes straight to the lungs, with very little ending up elsewhere in the body - each inhaler works in different ways.
Other breathing techniques.
Buteyko is a system of breathing exercises and recommendations around exercise, nutrition and sleeping aimed at reducing asthma symptoms by teaching people to breathe more slowly and gently through the nose rather than the mouth.
It is widely believed that many people with asthma breathe too fast and that this can make asthma symptoms worse.
One aspect of yoga, Pranayama uses breathing exercises, and has been studied with regard to asthma. These breathing exercises were found to be beneficial, with participants showing fewer asthma attacks and a higher tolerance to certain triggers.
Homeopathy aims to trigger the body's self-healing response using very small doses of things that cause symptoms In the case of asthma, homeopathic treatments are made from things that sometimes trigger an asthma attack, like pollen or weeds
Link to orthodox medicine
Some inhalers are pressurized canisters – similar to a spray deodorant or an air freshener. You press the inhaler while breathing in, so the vapor containing the medication can pass into your lungs. Some inhalers are not pressurised canisters but contain the medication in dry powder form, usually in a capsule that is punctured when the inhaler is "primed".
People with severe Asthma need to have orthodox medicine, and it’s advised they have complementary therapies to help with their breathing. If they have a mild case of Asthma they don’t necessarily have to have orthodox medicine as they can control their Asthma through lifestyle factors and can rely on complementary therapies.
References: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Asthma/Pages/Diagnosis.aspx http://www.asthma.org.uk/knowledge-bank-treatment-and-medicines-complementary-therapies
Coronary Heart Disease
What is it?
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the disease that occurs when your heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.
The fatty deposits can fill up the walls of individual’s arteries which is called atherosclerosis. This can also occur from individual’s lifestyle