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Chiropractic Feature Article

Asthma

An asthma attack is caused when a sudden constriction of airway passages, called the bronchi, occurs. These tiny tubes help to transport the air from the trachea (windpipe) into the lungs. The insides of these tubes are lined with smooth muscle that allows them to contract and expand much as our arteries do. When a message from the nervous system tells these tubes to constrict too tightly, an asthma attack is the result.

Asthma attacks can come on at any time and there are still many unanswered questions as to why only some people suffer from this disorder. One type of an asthma attack is triggered by activity. This form of asthma is called exercise-induced asthma. The second and more common form of idiopathic (unknown cause) asthma seems to be triggered by certain allergens to foods or particulate matter in the air like pollen, grasses, chemicals, and mold spores. No matter which form of asthma you suffer from, an asthma attack is a frightening feeling. If nervousness is also a trigger for this condition, the expected normal anxiety associated with having asthma can be a self-perpetuating prophecy of continued attacks.

Help for asthma sufferers has been on the market for a long time in the form of different inhalers to help dilate (open) the bronchial tubes but there are other ways to more naturally achieve a more effective way to relieve, reduce, and control your asthma.

 

Currently there is not enough research available to determine if asthma can be inherited or not. If there is no genetic (inherited) link, then the present belief is still that there are two types of asthma triggers, allergens, which causes atopic asthma attacks and non-atopic asthma attacks, which has no known cause.

For cases of atopic asthma, any number of microscopic airborne particles can trigger an attack. Mold spores are being increasingly recognized today as asthma triggers. This may be one reason asthma is on the rise in the
U.S. The increased use of home insulation materials prevents the beneficial air exchange, which encourages the growth of mold. Also an increasing use of basement conversions as living space is another source of increased mold exposure. Besides mold spores, the other common allergens that can trigger an attack are pollen, grasses, and foods.

Non-atopic asthma is difficult to diagnose, as allergy testing can be an exhaustive process. If there truly is a form of asthma that is not triggered from pollen, grass, mold, fungus, chemicals, or some environmental factor, more research needs to be done to find it. A genetic link is still possible although a nervous system or hormonal link to asthma is believed to be more likely.

Chiropractors have successfully treated asthma in a number of ways. Chiropractic manipulation in the area of the upper back can relieve tension on the nerves that supply the bronchial tubes. This may be an effective way to control a non-atopic asthma condition. Other forms of therapy, nutritional support, and lifestyle changes, have also been recommended by chiropractors to help decrease the number and the severity of asthma attacks.


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