Originating from the Greek word azein, meaning “breathe hard,” asthma is a surprisingly common condition affecting millions of Americans of all ages. Caused by a number of factors, there is not really a cure for asthma. Asthma sufferers are often relieved to learn there are chiropractic treatment options available to supplement or offer alternatives to traditional steroid medications and the use of inhalers. According to the CDC, the numbers of Americans diagnosed with asthma continues to increase, and an estimated 25.7 million people have asthma. In 2010 alone, 1.8 million people sought emergency room treatment for symptoms of asthma.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic (meaning frequently persistent or recurring) disease involving the airways, the breathing passages, and the lungs. Inflammation of the airways causes them to swell. This swelling makes breathing difficult. Muscles surrounding the airways often constrict, causing further difficulty in breathing. The severity of asthma symptoms ranges from mild to severe. Asthma is often categorized as either allergic or non-allergic.
The Causes of Asthma
There is continued debate about the exact causes and triggers of asthma. There are a number of factors which contribute to the development of asthma. Triggers can be environmental, such as breathing allergens or particles such as dust mites, mold, and pollen. Asthma may be caused by respiratory infections and illnesses, and exposure to viruses during childhood while the immune system was developing. Asthma can also be traced to stress-related incidents. If the airways are already inflamed, stressful or emotional events can trigger or worsen already existing asthma symptoms.
The Symptoms of Asthma
The symptoms of asthma are difficult to ignore. Signs include feeling out of breath, wheezing, coughing, especially during exercise, and sometimes chest tightness. It is important to realize these same symptoms may be caused by other conditions, so an evaluation and diagnosis of asthma are necessary. The symptoms of asthma may vary in severity from relatively mild, to moderate, to life-threatening.
The Treatment of Asthma
Asthma has no known cure; therefore, treatment is based on relieving the symptoms of asthma, and possibly reducing the necessity of medication. Avoiding any known triggers of asthma is an important emphasis of any treatment. In addition, Chiropractors can effectively correct musculoskeletal alignment problems. Over time, this often results in noticeable improvements in symptoms in asthma sufferers. Reducing stress on the nervous system enables the immune system to function effectively. Chiropractic treatment goals include restoring the body to its best state of alignment, with a focus on the spine. It might seem surprising the spine has anything to do with asthma, but its role is very significant in reducing symptoms. Even slight spinal misalignment can affect nerves and the proper functioning of vital organs of the body, including the lungs and heart. Chiropractic care can produce a noticeable improvement in the symptoms of asthma, as well as the overall energy and well-being of the asthma sufferer.
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