The rise in air pollution, coupled with lousy lifestyle habits, is causing a spike in respiratory diseases. According to a Lancet report, the contribution of chronic respiratory diseases in India increased from 4.5 per cent in 1990 to 6.4 per cent in 2016. With respiratory issues on the rise, there is an increased demand for natural solutions to treat such issues. Instead of conventional medicine, people are turning to alternative medical therapies to find cures for ailments.
Common Lung Disorders
Bronchitis is a health condition that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. This leads to narrowing of the air pathways and excess mucus causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. It is a chronic condition that interferes seriously with daily life.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
It is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that obstructs the airflow to the lungs. Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulty, mucus (sputum) production, coughing, and wheezing. It can result from long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. Those affected by COPD are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other conditions.
This is another variation of COPD. Bronchitis causes a similar build-up of mucus that can cause inflammation and coughing. The lungs' airways are constantly inflamed as chronic bronchitis often lasts for months on end. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include incessant coughing, whistling sounds while breathing, wheezing and a tightening of the chest.
It is said that the cure for all ailments is available the natural way. Here are some of the alternative medicine approaches to treat respiratory disorders.
Alternative Medicinal Approaches to Treat Respiratory Disorders
Asthma is one of the most common lung diseases. One of the primary causes of asthma is allergies, which often result from the food consumed. It is crucial, therefore, to first prepare a diet that is suitable for an individual. Often, dairy products, meats, and certain nuts can increase the production of mucus.
Foods like these must be avoided. Also, antioxidants can prevent damage resulting from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Diet is important in this regard, as fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins A, C, and E can improve the condition of COPD patients.
Yoga and Exercise
Treatment of lung disorders often involves the use of the lungs to promote healthy breathing habits. Exercises like cycling, swimming, yoga etc. that create a need for full capacity breathing are of great importance. Exercising the diaphragm is important and simple activities can go a long way in the treatment of the same.
Pranayama, the practise of controlled breathing, is an integral part of alternative treatment for people suffering from respiratory issues. This extensive breathing practice helps to expand the lungs and improve the capacity of the lungs, which helps an individual breathe more freely.
Nasal irrigation systems like JalNeti using a Neti pot can help to rinse the sinuses, which may provide some relief from symptoms of respiratory allergies.
The traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate certain parts of the body. According to a study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, people with allergic rhinitis who were given acupuncture treatments twice a week for eight weeks had fewer symptoms than those administered placebo.
It is important to remember that no one complementary or alternative therapy works well for everyone with respiratory issues. Therefore, a proper assessment is done before deciding on the approach to the treatment plan. For those considering alternative medicine for their respiratory problems, it is recommended to speak to an expert first and discuss the approach that may work best. (Vinoda Kumary, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute)
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New York - For hundreds of years, people have observed that asthma severity often worsens in the nighttime. Researchers have pinned down the influence of the circadian system as the reason and not sleep and physical activities as traditionally thought.
As many as 75 per cent of people with asthma report experiencing worsening asthma severity at night. Many behavioural and environmental factors, including exercise, air temperature, posture, and sleep environment, are known to influence asthma severity.
In the study, the team from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Oregon Health and Science University wanted to understand the contributions of the internal circadian system to this problem.
The circadian system is composed of a central pacemaker in the brain (the suprachiasmatic nucleus) and "clocks" throughout the body and is critical for the coordination of bodily functions and to anticipate the daily cycling environmental and behavioural demands.
"This is one of the first studies to carefully isolate the influence of the circadian system from the other factors that are behavioural and environmental, including sleep," said Frank AJL Scheer, director of the Medical Chronobiology Programme in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at the Brigham.
"We observed that those people who have the worst asthma in general are the ones who suffer from the greatest circadian-induced drops in pulmonary function at night, and also had the greatest changes induced by behaviours, including sleep," added Steven A. Shea, Professor and director at Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences.
The findings are published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
To understand the influence of the circadian system, the team enrolled 17 participants with asthma (who were not talking steroid medication, but who did use bronchodilator inhalers whenever they felt asthma symptoms were worsening) into two complementary laboratory protocols where lung function, asthma symptoms and bronchodilator use were continuously assessed.
In the "constant routine" protocol, participants spent 38 hours continuously awake, in a constant posture, and under dim light conditions, with identical snacks every two hours.
In the "forced desynchrony" protocol, participants were placed on a recurring 28-hour sleep/wake cycle for a week under dim light conditions, with all behaviours scheduled evenly across the cycle.
New York, Aug 11 (IANS) Asthmatics who have their illness well under control have less severe Covid-19 outcomes than those with uncontrolled asthma, according to a large study.The findings, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, suggest that asthma patients -- especially those who require clinical care -- should continue taking their asthma medications during the Covid-19 pandemic."Anyone with asthma should continue to work with their health care provider to ensure they are getting the best treatment for their asthma, which leads to better asthma control and decreases the likelihood of severe Covid-19 outcomes," said Zhanghua Chen, Assistant Professor of population and public health sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.Researchers collected data on 61,338 Covid-19 patients using electronic medical records from Kaiser Permanente Southern California from March 1 to August 31, 2020. Medical codes were used to determine if these patients had asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease prior to their Covid-19 diagnosis. Researchers also separated the data further, with the "active" group accounting for any patients who had a clinical visit for asthma within the last 12 months and the "inactive" group accounting for those who had not.Patients in the active asthma group had significantly higher odds of hospitalization, a need for intensive respiratory support and ICU admission within 30 days of Covid-19 diagnosis compared to those with no history of asthma or COPD.Notably, researchers did not see a higher likelihood of mortality within 60 days for the active asthma group."This study went beyond examining asthma's impact on Covid-19 outcomes and instead focused on how Covid-19 outcomes might change for asthma patients depending on their level of asthma control," said Anny H Xiang of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research and Evaluation."We also saw that even in patients with active asthma, if they were using asthma medications their odds of worsened Covid-19 outcomes decreased, which demonstrates just how important these medications are," Xiang said.--IANSrvt/bg
Jerusalem, May 3 (IANS) The widespread use of face masks outdoors during the Covid-19 pandemic has led to 65 per cent reduction in serious asthma cases that required hospitalisation, according to a study.Face masks also helped decrease the spread of viruses such as the flu in the past year, researchers from Israel's Sheba Medical Centre were quoted as saying by Times of Israel.By wearing masks, people are also less likely to suffer from seasonal allergies, as face coverings prevent pollen from flowers, trees, and grass coming into contact with the nose and mouth.Israel recently lifted the nationwide mandate on mask-wearing outdoors. However, masks must still be worn in public spaces indoors, and the Health Ministry also recommended they continue to be worn outdoors in large gatherings, the report said.Wearing masks during the pandemic reduced cases of flu this year and also reportedly affected the first-quarter profit of Swiss drugmakers Novartis and Roche.--IANSrvt/vd
London, April 19 (IANS) Inhaled budesonide -- primarily an asthma drug -- can shorten recovery time among Covid patients aged over 50, according to a study.Early treatment with inhaled budesonide cut recovery time by a median of three days in Covid-19 patients at higher risk of more severe illness, said researchers from the University of Oxford.The findings, from the preliminary trial, showed 32 per cent of those taking budesonide recovered within the first 14 days of treatment, compared with 22 per cent in the usual care group. They also reported greater well being after 2 weeks.The study "has found evidence that a relatively cheap, widely available drug with very few side effects helps people at higher risk of worse outcomes from Covid-19 recover quicker, stay better once they feel recovered, and improve their wellbeing", said Chris Butler, Professor of primary care at the university's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences. "We therefore anticipate that medical practitioners around the world caring for people with Covid-19 in the community may wish to consider this evidence when making treatment decisions, as it should help people with Covid-19 recover quicker," Butler added.However, inhaled budesonide is not yet recommended as standard care "but can be considered (off-label) on a case-by-case basis for symptomatic Covid-19 positive patients aged 65 and over, or aged 50 or over with comorbidities," warned the UK National Health Service.In the study, participants received usual care plus 800Ig of inhaled budesonide (Pulmicort Turbohaler, AstraZeneca) twice daily for 14 days, or usual care alone.The estimated median time to self-reported recovery from Covid was 3.011 days shorter among the 961 patients who took budesonide compared with the 1,819 people who were randomly assigned to receive usual care alone, the researchers said.--IANSrvt/sdr/
New York, April 15 (IANS) Exposure to higher levels of air pollution is likely to increase the severity of Covid-19 among people suffering from respiratory conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), warns a study.
Researchers from the University of Cincinnati in the US found that a one-unit increase in particulate matter 2.5 was associated with a 60 per cent higher chance of hospitalisation for Covid-19 patients with pre-existing respiratory disease.
Particulate matter less or equal to 2.5 micrometers refers to a mixture of tiny particles and droplets in the air that are two-and-one half microns or less in width.
For patients without respiratory disease, no association was observed, revealed the findings published online in the scholarly journal Respiratory Medicine.
"Particulate matter is very small, small enough to be inhaled deep into the lungs, they cross into the blood and also affect other organ systems. Air pollution as a result of emissions from automobiles, factories or other sources is a generator of particulate matter," Angelico Mendy, MD, Assistant Professor of environmental and public health sciences, at the varsity's College of Medicine.
"Our study didn't find any correlation between severity of Covid-19 and particulate matter in general, but we found something for people who had asthma and COPD," Mendy added.
The team looked at the health outcomes and backgrounds of 1,128 Covid-19 patients at UC Health. Mendy led a team of researchers in an individual-level study which used a statistical model to evaluate the association between long-term exposure to particulate matter less or equal to 2.5 micrometers and hospitalisations for Covid-19.
"This study may have policy implications such as reducing particulate exposure. Many people want to have more clean energy and reduced emissions into the atmosphere," Mendy noted.