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Breathe In, Breathe Out: What You Need to Know About Asthma

Posted Jun 03 2011 10:21pm

Sometimes it’s a wheezing cough or a tightening of the chest. It may show itself as simply a loss of breath or the rapid intake and exhalation of air. Regardless of how it manifests itself, asthma can be a terribly frightening condition for those who suffer from it and those who witness a sudden attack.

The ability to breathe normally is obviously a necessary component to healthy living. Red blood cellswhich run throughout the entire body from the tips of the toes to the brainrequire oxygen to function; without oxygen, the body shuts down and dies.

There are three major features that define asthma in people. First, there is an airway obstruction. When people breathe normally, bands of muscle around the airways are relaxed and air moves freely, but this is not the case for those with asthma. Instead, these bands of muscle tighten, and air cannot move freely. Also, people with asthma have inflamed bronchial tubes, and this inflammation can contribute to long-term damage to the lungs. Finally, asthmatic airways are much more sensitive to triggers such as pollen, animal dander and dust.

Asthma is a serious and dangerous disease that affects more than 22 million Americans, and yet few people realize they may be able to manage and control the condition without excessive medication. Some people are more prone to the condition than others due to a variety of genetic and environmental factors. For example, some people have an inherited tendency to develop allergies, which can jumpstart an asthma attack, and people with parents who have asthma also seem to be more likely to have it as well.

Researchers also believe that there are certain things that happen during childhood that may spur the condition on as well. Contracting certain respiratory infections during childhood and coming into contact with certain viral infections might contribute to the likelihood that children will develop asthma later in life. However, researchers also have a “hygiene hypothesis” when it comes to what causes asthma. The Western lifestyle heavily emphasizes hygiene and sanitation, and young children are not as exposed to infections as they used to be. As a result, their immune systems are not as strong as they could be, putting kids at risk for asthma.

If you suffer from asthma, work with your whole-body wellness team to create an action plan to manage your symptoms, which may or may not include medications. Identify triggers, such as pollen and mold, and avoid them. Stay in touch with your body and monitor your breathing patterns. Treat attacks early instead of waiting for them to escalate into something much worse. Finally, maintaining optimal healthwhich includes regular appointments to see your upper cervical chiropractorcan help keep asthma in check. When your body is functioning at its highest capabilities, it can better care for itself.

If you suffer from Asthma, The Specific Chiropractic Center invites you to its Asthma lecture on Wednesday, June 8th. Reserve your space today by calling 1-888-722-4467.


Gerace, James E., MD. “What is Asthma?” (March 21, 2010) Retrieved May 18, 2011 from .

“Prevention.” Retrieved May 18, 2011 from .

“What Causes Asthma?” National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Retrieved May 18, 2011 from .

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