Bronchial asthma is an inflammatory process of the respiratory tract, characterized by a chronic course. The disease is not associated with direct exposure to infectious agents.
It is important to treat bronchial asthma in a comprehensive manner: this will avoid its exacerbations and prevent death. This article presents the main methods of therapy and reviews on the treatment of bronchial asthma.
Can bronchial asthma be cured?
Bronchial asthma is a disease of immune- allergic origin. This disease is characterized by a chronic course with progressive development: the patient periodically has attacks that cause suffocation.
With this disease, inflammatory processes occur in the organs of the respiratory system, causing bronchial hyperreactivity. Because of this, the slightest contact with irritants and allergens leads to airway obstruction, restriction of air flow rate and suffocation.
During periods of remission, when there are no asthma attacks, the inflammatory process persists in the bronchi.
Bronchial asthma develops in different ways: the least severe case is an episodic form, the most uncontrolled, persistent .
The disease can cause serious complications: pulmonary emphysema, secondary cardiopulmonary failure. There is a risk of status asthma, in which asthma attacks follow one after another, and it is not possible to stop them. This can be fatal.
Also, this disease in advanced cases leads to disability. Correct and systemic treatment of bronchial asthma can improve the patient’s condition and improve his quality of life.
Since the described disease refers to the pathological processes of the chronic course, it is impossible to get rid of it forever. To date, in modern medicine, not a single case has been confirmed when a patient cured asthma completely.
Experts emphasize that even if the patient does not develop symptoms of a chronic inflammatory process of the respiratory system for several years in a row, this does not indicate a cure. The absence of a clinical picture in this case indicates a long period of remission, which can end at any time.
Despite the difficulties, the course of bronchial asthma can and should be controlled, and throughout life. Constant adherence to the doctor’s recommendations, taking medications, limiting contact with allergens and adhering to a therapeutic diet prevent the occurrence of asthma attacks and improve the patient’s quality of life.
How to treat bronchial asthma
Reviews of specialists on methods of treating bronchial asthma indicate that therapy must necessarily be comprehensive.
The main components of the treatment of this disease are:
- use of medications. Asthma sufferers need to use drugs containing glucocorticoids and cromones . The first ones save the patient from attacks of suffocation, the second ones are used to prevent exacerbations. Also, for the treatment of bronchial asthma, expectorant and mucolytic agents are used to remove phlegm from the bronchi, antiallergic drugs necessary to relieve the symptoms of allergies, which are usually accompanied by an inflammatory process;
- the use of inhalers. Inhaled drugs effectively fight the symptoms of bronchial asthma, help with choking;
- carrying out physiotherapy procedures. Patients with bronchial asthma in periods of exacerbation are shown magnetotherapy, aerosol therapy, aeroionotherapy, laser therapy. In case of remission, phonophoresis , sun and air baths, electrophoresis, hydrotherapy are recommended ;
- chest massage. This method of therapy is used during periods of exacerbation and remission;
- the use of folk remedies. Various tinctures and decoctions prepared according to folk recipes can be used only after consulting a doctor, so as not to aggravate the patient’s condition. This method of therapy cannot be the main one: it only complements the main course of treatment based on traditional methods.
Complex treatment of bronchial asthma can be carried out in specialized institutions – health resorts. Experts offer, in addition to standard drug therapy, a number of treatment procedures, including:
- treatment with sea water, plants, oxygen;
- speleotherapy (stay in salt caves);
- mud therapy.
Experts recommend that patients with asthma be treated with specific medications.
A variety of medications are prescribed to patients.
The main therapeutic task of taking drugs for bronchial asthma is to expand the lumen of the bronchi, reduce inflammation and relieve bronchospasm. The group of medications used includes:
- short-acting beta- adrenergic agonists. These drugs, called bronchodilators , are usually administered by inhalation. They stop acute attacks;
- long-acting beta- adrenergic agonists . They are also administered by inhalation ;
- anticholinergics . The drugs of this group reduce the spasm of the bronchial muscles;
- theophyllines. Medicines of this group prevent respiratory failure, have a bronchodilating effect;
- glucocorticosteroids . Preparations for the treatment of bronchial asthma, containing hormones, have an anti-inflammatory effect. They affect the mucous membrane of the bronchi, providing anti-edema and anti-allergic effects. Many glucocorticosteroids come in the form of an inhaler;
- antagonists of leukotriene receptors. Medicines in this group have an anti-inflammatory effect;
- expectorant drugs (syrups based on licorice root, thyme, marshmallow). Their task is to stimulate the contraction of the muscles of the respiratory tract, due to which the phlegm goes out;
- mucolytics . Such drugs thin the phlegm and reduce its production, as well as facilitate excretion;
- drugs with antiallergic action. They relieve allergy symptoms that often accompany bronchial asthma.
The choice of drugs depends on the severity of the disease:
- in the initial stages of bronchial asthma, which are characterized by episodic attacks, inhalation agents are prescribed to relieve symptoms. Usually in their role are short- acting beta- adrenergic agonists;
- at the second stage of the disease, anti-inflammatory drugs from the group of corticosteroids or antileukotriene drugs are prescribed. In this case, the patient continues to use inhaled bronchodilators ;
- at the third stage of pathology, combination therapy is advisable. The patient is prescribed low-dose inhaled glucocorticosteroids and long-acting beta- adrenergic agonists . If necessary, prescribe long-acting theophylline preparations;
- if the patient has been diagnosed with fourth-degree bronchial asthma , an inhaled glucocorticosteroid , a long-acting beta- adrenergic agonist , and an antileukotriene agent are prescribed ;
- in the most severe cases, a large number of drugs are used to treat asthma. In addition to inhaled corticosteroids to relieve seizures, systemic hormones are prescribed.
The presented treatment regimens are more suitable for adults, the therapy for children is adjusted in accordance with age characteristics.
It is necessary to mention the Buteyko method of asthma treatment. Its essence lies in the optimization of the respiratory process by performing special exercises.
The specialist who developed this method of treatment believed that it is wrong breathing that leads to many diseases, including asthma. Buteyko, who himself suffered from asthma, argued that deep inhalation and exhalation decrease the oxygen content in the blood, which provokes its deficiency in the body.
Oxygen starvation is the cause of metabolic disorders, and this provokes a spasm of blood vessels and bronchi.
Before starting treatment in this way, the patient is trained. He needs to examine his breathing. Further, the patient studies the features of gymnastics.
Breathing exercises are performed on an empty stomach.
The set of exercises includes a number of elements, the implementation of which is possible in different ways:
- first, the patient sits on a chair with his back straight. The palms are on the knees. You need to breathe shallowly – so that breathing is barely noticeable, and there is a feeling that it is impossible to breathe. You need to do this for 10 minutes;
- then they perform respiratory movements, involving the chest and abdomen. Inhalation and exhalation last no more than 7.5 seconds. The pause between inhalation and exhalation is 5 seconds;
- then they perform acupressure of the nose, while holding their breath as much as possible;
- breathe in turn by the right and left nostrils, covering the opposite. Perform 10 times on each side;
- they make such breathing movements: while inhaling, they draw in the stomach, are fixed for 7.5 seconds. The exhalation must be done as full as possible, the duration is also 7.5 seconds. Run 10 times. The pause between sets is 5 seconds;
- carry out ventilation of the lungs. For one minute, 12 very deep breaths are performed, for 5 seconds each. On the limiting exhalation, it is necessary to hold the breath as much as possible once.
The final part of therapeutic breathing exercises is level breathing. They do it this way:
- inhale, exhale for a minute, then pause. The duration of each element is 5 seconds;
- inhale for two minutes, then pause and then exhale. Do everything for 5 seconds;
- for three minutes, inhale, pause and exhale. Inhale and exhale – 7.5 seconds each, a pause lasts 5 seconds;
- for four minutes, inhale, pause, then exhale and pause again. Each element is 10 seconds long.
After level breathing, hold your breath once when you exhale, and then when you inhale. Next, hold your breath as much as possible while sitting, then – walking in place, and finally – squatting (from 3 to 10 times).
Sit back on a chair, straighten your back, relax. Breathe deeply, gradually decreasing inhalation and exhalation until breathing becomes almost imperceptible.
There are alternative methods of treatment, or, as they are also called, unconventional. These are various folk recipes, homeopathy, self-hypnosis.
Doctors emphasize that these treatments only work when combined with traditional treatments.
Non-traditional methods include the following:
- reception of infusion on pine cones. To prepare it, you need to put in a thermos 3-5 washed pine cones and a piece of resin of the same tree (no more than 2 cm in diameter). Pour the ingredients with 500 ml of hot milk. Mix everything thoroughly, let it brew for four hours. After that, strain the infusion, remove the cones. Drink a glass of the received medicinal product in the morning and in the evening. The duration of treatment is at least a month, but not more than two;
- the use of a prefabricated decoction of herbal components. It is necessary to prepare flowers of calendula, chamomile, as well as peppermint, coltsfoot, plantain, anise, wild rosemary, licorice root, violet and elecampane. The listed components must be dried. Take all the herbs in equal parts, chop, mix. Take a tablespoon of the resulting mixture, pour 1.5 liters of boiling water. Let it brew for 3-4 hours, drain. Take 50 ml of the product after meals;
- use of a Jerusalem artichoke-based product. Peel the root vegetables, grate on a fine grater. Take 2 tablespoons of the resulting mass, pour a glass of boiling water. Let stand for 2 hours, covering the container with a lid. Take quarter glasses 4 times a day.
Some asthmatics leave positive reviews about the treatment of asthma with homeopathic medicines.
Many homeopathic remedies are suitable for chronic inflammation of the respiratory system.
Despite the fact that homeopathic remedies are not recognized by official medicine, you should always consult your doctor before using them. It is important to discuss dosage issues. In addition, a specific type of homeopathic remedy is prescribed under certain conditions: for example, some types are recommended for patients who, in addition to asthma, have hypertension, and they are not suitable if asthma is complicated by vasomotor rhinitis.
The possibilities of “other treatment” cannot be denied, but it should be remembered that alternative therapy methods should not replace traditional ones.
What people say about the effectiveness of asthma treatments
Many patients leave their comments on the treatment of bronchial asthma, which are useful for those who suffer from this disease.
Typically, patients emphasize that they have tried many remedies to achieve remission.
With exacerbations, most patients use inhaled drugs.
Some patients go to rest in Crimea, the steppe regions (the cities of Feodosia and Sudak) – the climate of these places is dry. After staying in such conditions, the attacks recede for quite a long time. This is mentioned by every third patient who had a rest in Crimea.
Some patients emphasize that visiting salt caves is good for their condition.
Periodically, patients do inhalations using a special device – a nebulizer, follow a diet, exclude contact with allergens. All this helps to avoid frequent attacks.
Gymnastics by the Buteyko method was practiced by many: judging by the reviews, it does not help everyone.
Prevention of asthma exacerbations
To minimize the risk of attacks in bronchial asthma, you need to follow these rules:
- to refuse from bad habits. It is necessary not only to give up cigarettes, but also to avoid places where people smoke;
- to be in the fresh air more often, to limit the time spent in an area with polluted air;
- promptly treat inflammatory and infectious diseases of the respiratory tract;
- avoid close contact with pets;
- avoid dust, pollen from flowering plants.
With bronchial asthma, you must follow a diet. The diet implies the complete exclusion of foods that can provoke an attack of suffocation. It is important to remember the following:
- the use of salt must be strictly limited. It can be no more than 8 g per day;
- it is necessary to exclude all types of nuts from the diet;
- chicken eggs, seafood and sea fish, citrus fruits, mushrooms, strawberries and raspberries are the strongest allergens, so you should stop using them;
- it is important to avoid foods and dishes that contain histamines and thiamine. Most of these substances are found in alcoholic beverages, cheese, smoked meats (especially in raw smoked sausages), canned fish;
- all seasonings and spices, including natural ones (horseradish, onions, garlic), must be excluded from the menu.
Carbonated drinks, honey, coffee, and chocolate also cause allergic reactions.
All industrial products contain a large amount of dyes and flavors that are hazardous to the health of an asthmatic, so they must be avoided.
The patient’s menu may consist of fresh fruits and vegetables that need to be boiled and baked, vegetable soups and vegetarian borscht, vegetable stew, steamed meatballs, and occasionally cereal side dishes.
As for the method of cooking, patients with bronchial asthma should eat boiled, stewed and baked dishes. Fried foods must be completely discarded.
With bronchial asthma, systematic treatment is necessary, reviews of various methods can be found on the forums dedicated to this disease. The therapy is based on taking medications that stop seizures and prevent relapses.
The main treatment is complemented by adherence to a diet, physiotherapy, and breathing exercises. Competent observance of the prescriptions given by the doctor throughout his life allows the patient to avoid disability and death.