Health Intuitive

Monthly Archives : December, 2013

Rashes – Definition

Rashes essentially are the changes in the tactile attribute and/or color of a person’s skin. A skin rash is also termed as skin inflammation, skin redness, erythema, rubor or skin lesion.

Types of Rashes

There are different types of rashes. Each type of rash has its own corresponding consistency, shape and size. The different types of rashes are:

  • Macule – a non-palpable rash that causes skin discoloration
  • Patch – A macule about 1 centimeter in size
  • Papule – A type of palpable rash raised less than a cm
  • Plaque – A broad papule raised less than a cm
  • Blister or vesicle – Skin rash raised less than a cm on the level of the epidermis filled with fluid with a translucent thin wall.
  • Bulla – a vesicle raised > a centimeter above skin level
  • Pustule – A vesicle filled with pus
  • Crust – A skin lesion filled with fluid (dried blood or skin lesions) that looks bumpy, flat or rough. It looks yellowish, brown or red and sheds off the skin within days or weeks
  • Verruca or Wart – A skin growth from the epidermis shaped like a cauliflower
  • Nodule – A growth in the skin that feels solid and is palpable raised less than a cm. It can develop below the skin or above skin level
  • Induration – A skin hardening that is localized
  • Lichenification – A skin hardening that is palpable and visible. This is a symptom of chronic eczema
  • Maceration – A wet raw skin rash
  • Erythema – A localized red rash caused by congestion or dilation of the skin capillaries
  • Eczema – A localized red rash filled with crusts and vesicles and looks scaly
  • Urticaria or Hives – An itchy raised red patchy or bumpy rash that is a symptom of an allergic reaction
  • Weal – A skin bump that appears during a skin allergy test that is a reaction to an injected allergen
  • Angioedema – Hives combined with swelling affecting the deep layers of the skin

 

 

Sciatica Treatments and Drugs

A large percentage of acute sciatica cases are treated with pain medications usually taken at home. For chronic sciatica patients, treatment entails medical and self-help treatments.

Addressing Short-Term Sciatica

Painkillers – NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen and many kinds of over-the-counter painkillers are some of the best treatments for treating short-term sciatica.

NSAIDs may not be a good option if you suffer from heart disease, liver disease, high blood pressure, asthma or you have a history of digestive and abdominal conditions. In lieu then of NSAIDS, you can opt for paracetamol. You can get proper advice for your medication from your doctor or pharmacist.

A prescription medicine like a light opiate-based analgesic like codeine can be given to you by your doctor if OTC drugs fail to do the job. If you exhibit really severe symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a muscle relaxant like diazepam. This drug, however, can be habit-forming so your physician may likely only prescribe a week-long course for this drug.

Exercise – It is important for those with sciatica to be physically active whenever they can. A few hours of bed rest during the day may be good since it can give some respite for your pain. If you rest for several hours, your pain can again act up. Good exercises for sciatica sufferers can include light stretching exercises and walking.

Compression packs – A lot of sciatica patients have discovered that using either cold or hot compression packs can help minimize the pain. You can find better pain relief if you utilize one type of pack then follow it up with the other although not immediately.

Persistent sciatica treatment

Persistent sciatica is also termed chronic sciatica and its treatment entails the use of both medical treatments and self help procedures.

Painkillers – NSAIDS should not be used for long-term treatment since they can result in digestive system problems like internal bleeding, ulcers and abdominal pain.  For long-term pain medication for sciatica some of the following analgesics may be utilized:

  • Tricyclic antidepressant like amitriptyline – This drug’s original use was for the treatment of depression. When doctors saw that it was effective for treating nerve pain, amitriptyline then also became a drug for sciatica.
  • Codeine (can be used in combination with paracetamol)
  • Paracetamol
  • Gabapentin – This can be taken to address neuropathic pain. This drug was primarily created to prevent seizures in patients suffering from epilepsy. But, like amitriptyline, gabapentin has shown to be effective in controlling sciatica and other types of nerve pain.

Corticosteroid injection – If the aforementioned treatments do not work your doctor may then recommend you to a specialist who can give you epidural steroid injection. An epidural steroid injection is an anti-inflammatory medicine injected straight into the inflamed part of your back specifically the region where the nerves of your spine are located. The injection takes out the pressure on the sciatic nerve thus reducing your pain.

Exercise and physiotherapy

If you have chronic sciatica, it is important for you to become active physically since this will lessen the intensity of your symptoms. Regular exercise can also strengthen your back muscles especially the ones that support your spine. It also stimulates the production of endorphins in your body that produces a pleasant and relaxing sensation in your body.

Either your doctor or a physiotherapist can recommend an effective exercise plan for you. You can learn a number of exercises that reinforce your back muscles and enhance the tractability of your spine from a physiotherapist. He can also help you improve your posture that can resolve any back strain you have.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Some researches have revealed that CBT can improve your ability to manage your chronic pain resulting from sciatica. This type of therapy is grounded on the belief that how we feel is due to the way we think about certain things. Researches show that individuals who condition themselves to respond in a different way to pain, by keeping a positive attitude and through the use of relaxation techniques, have shown a substantial reduction in the intensity of the pain they experience. These individuals also become more active and regularly exercise even lessening more the pain and the severity of their symptoms.

Surgery

Back surgery for sciatica may be performed when:

  • The symptoms become unresponsive to any type of treatments
  • The symptoms keep getting worse
  • The sciatica is due to a herniated or a slipped disc

Some of the surgeries that can be performed for sciatica patients include:

  • Fusion surgery – This surgery places a slipped disc back in place by fusing the disc with the use of a bone graft supported by metal rods
  • Discectomy – This surgery removes the herniated disc that is pressuring the nerve.  Discectomy is the most commonly used form of back surgery for sciatica
  • Laminectomy – This surgery is to treat spinal stenosis. It trims or takes out the arch of a vertebra to remove the pressure on the nerves

The rate of success for these types of back pain surgery is high; however, they also entail certain risks. Some of the risks can include:

  • A chance albeit small that the spinal nerves will be damaged leading to muscle weakness
  • Risk of a botched surgery
  • Risk of infection

Acupuncture

This ancient Chinese medical art is now a popular alternative therapy for specific types of pain. Acupuncture treatment uses small and narrow needles inserted at strategic energy points in the body. The successful placing of the needles results in the patient experiencing a sensation of relaxation and fullness in the body and tingling, numbness with a little bit of soreness on the areas where the needles are placed. A lot of people with sciatica and other back pain problems have found long-term relief from this therapy. To be sure you get the best kind of acupuncture treatment, you need to look for a reputable facility run be licensed and well-experienced acupuncturists who only utilize sterilized needles and equipments.

 

Dr. Jack Handlin is an experienced acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and oriental reproductive medicine specialist at Tree of Life Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine in Bellevue, WA.

Definition of Asthma

Asthma is defined as a long-term or chronic lung condition that restricts and inflames the airways. The effects of asthma include episodes of:

  • Coughing – This often strikes early in the morning or at night
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing – A squeaky or whistling sound whenever you respire

Anyone can potentially suffer from asthma. In the United States above 25 million of the population is identified to suffer from asthma and around 7 million children in this country have this condition.

In order to know how asthma affects a person, an explanation of how the airways’ function is needed. The airways are shaped like tubes and convey air to and from the lungs. Asthma inflames the airways making them very tender and swollen and they react sensitively to specific inhaled materials. The reaction of the airways automatically constricts the airways allowing less air to flow into and out of the lungs. When the airways swell up it even makes the airways much narrower. Furthermore, mucus might be produced more than normal further narrowing the airways. All these reactions will manifest the symptoms one typically sees in asthma attacks.  When the airways become inflamed the asthma symptoms will become manifest.

Mild asthma attacks often resolve by themselves or go away if minimal treatment is done.

If the symptoms are severe or if there are more added symptoms that exacerbate the condition, an asthma attack often ensues. The asthma attack is also termed as an exacerbation or a flare up. Early treatment of asthma is the best way to address this condition and prevents it from becoming a flare up or exacerbation. If left untreated a severe asthma attack can become deadly.

Like most cases of chronic diseases, asthma has no known cure although some people tend to outgrow this condition when they reach adulthood. Basically, however, this disease can flare up any time when the body is exposed to asthma triggers. Regardless of how severe the asthma is, people most of the time are well prepared to manage their asthma. Early treatment can prevent the onset of symptoms. Most people who have asthma live active normal lives and are able to get pleasant sleep at night uninterrupted by any asthma attack.

 

Nawei’s Acupuncture Clinic
559 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Suite 212
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: 719-632-7103
http://acupuncturechinanawei.com/

Dandruff Risk Factors

There are a wide variety of possible risk factors for dandruff conditions. Knowing more about these risk factors can help you diagnose dandruff and seek for treatments that work.

Medically Related Dandruff Cases

Compromised Immune system –Patients with a weakened immune system caused by conditions like HIV or AIDS are at high risk to develop dandruff (about 10% of these patients develop dandruff as a side effect of these diseases). Patients who also have cardiovascular problems such as a stroke or heart attack or are in rehabilitation from these two conditions can have a high likelihood of developing dandruff.

People suffering from certain types of skin conditions are also highly prone to developing dandruff. A skin condition called psoriasis can cause dandruff, as well as musculoskeletal conditions like arthritis or neurological conditions like Parkinson disease. Eczema which is a chronic skin problem causes the skin to dry on many parts of the body, including the scalp. Seborrheic dermatitis, on the other hand, is another type of dandruff that results in a chronic, persistent oily flaky type of dandruff.

Environmental Risk Factors

Besides the medically related conditions mentioned above, a person can also be at high risk for dandruff from certain environmental factors. Medical professionals assert that the exposure of the skin to extreme temperatures can cause the development of dandruff. One god example is too much sunlight can lead to sunburn of the body including the scalp which then will likely lead to dandruff since the dead in the scalp gets irritated by the UV rays and heat.  Diet can also be a factor in the rise of dandruff. If a diet is poor in zinc or contains high amounts of oily or fatty foods, the diet can contribute to dandruff.

Doctors also blame stress as an underlying factor that increases the likelihood of dandruff in a person. Most individuals believe that stress can lead to a number of skin diseases like oral herpes or cold sores. Some claim, however, that imbalance of a person’s body chemistry is more often than not caused by chronic stress which can lead to the arising of dandruff symptoms or aggravate one’s dandruff.

Other Causes

The human skin is home to a number of flora and fauna that can be harmless, harmful or beneficial. Head lice infestation is a harmful type of “fauna” that can trigger a dandruff outbreak.  Overabundance of fungus on the skin which normally is harmless can also make dandruff appear.

Knowing the underlying causes of dandruff is a good way of dealing effectively with dandruff.  People usually do not need to know from their doctors that they have dandruff but will require medical help to ascertain what type of dandruff they have and the ways to treat it. The most common treatments for dandruff are shampoos and oils added with tee tree oil, tar concentrations and other natural remedies. The cure for dandruff may lie ahead in the near future and better treatments will become available for dandruff enabling one to handle this skin condition optimally.

 

Manhattan Acupuncture Clinic
900 Broadway, Suite 404
New York, NY 10003
Ph: (917) 968-6456
http://www.manhattanacupunctureclinic.com/

Gastritis Preparing for Your Appointment

When you consult with your family physician to report about your gastritis symptoms, your doctor will evaluate you for any symptoms and signs of gastritis. He may then refer you to a medical specialist, a gastroenterologist, if he thinks you are suffering from gastritis.

You need to be well-prepared for your appointment in order to get the best treatment possible for your condition. Listed below are some helpful advices in preparing for your appointment and to know what to expect from the doctor:

Bring along a partner, friend or family member who can assist you in remembering things that you may have forgotten that your doctor needs to know. Your companion can even help you take notes of important things like instructions the doctor is saying during the appointment.
Make a list of all steroids, supplements, herbs and medicines (over-the-counter and prescription) you are presently taking. You can show the list to your doctor during your appointment.
Put down in a small notebook all your personal information that your doctor needs to know. These may include recent life changes or stressors in you life that may be affecting your health.
List down all symptoms you have experienced even ones that may not seem connected to the condition that you are complaining.
Call your doctor’s office to see if you need to adhere to certain restrictions prior to your appointment.  You may need to ask the office if there are things you need to do or avoid to properly prepare for your appointment. If you are required to follow certain restrictions like avoiding alcohol or eating fatty, fried, acidic or spicy foods that irritate your stomach or temporarily halting your intake of certain medications you’re taking prior to your appointment be sure to follow them faithfully.

To help prepare relevant questions to ask your doctor, listed below are some of the questions that can help you understand your condition more:

What condition am I suffering from?
What tests do I need to undergo?
Is my problem chronic or acute?
What do you think is the best treatment plan for my problem?
Are there other good treatment plans besides that ones you are suggesting?
Is there a good treatment plan that addresses both my present condition and my other health problems?
What things do I need to do and things that I need to avoid?
Do I need to consult with a specialist? How much will that appointment entail? Will my visit to a specialist be covered by my insurance?
Can you prescribe generic medications instead of branded ones, if possible?
Can I bring home reading materials like brochures, pamphlets and materials to help me know more about my condition?
Can you suggest websites I can visit to learn more about my problem?
Do I need to do a follow-up visit?

If you have other questions outside those listed above, be sure to ask them to your doctor.

Your doctor needs to ask you questions in order to gain more information that will lead to a correct diagnosis and a good treatment plan. Some of the doctor’s questions may look like these:

Can you describe your symptoms?
Are your symptoms severe?  (ex. Is the pain in your stomach mild or very painful? Or does your stomach pain feel like a stabbing pain or does it feel like a mild stomach ache?)
Are your symptoms coming and going or are they unrelenting?
What things (foods, medicines, antacids and other factors) seem to worsen or better your symptoms?
Have you recently experienced unexplained weight loss?
Do you take pain killing drugs everyday?
How often do you drink alcohol?
Are you feeling too stressed out all the time?
Have you observed if there is any sign of blood in your feces or if your stools are black in color?
Have you ever had an ulcer?

 

Christina Prieto is an Orlando acupuncturist, a certified Yoga instructor and the founder of Harmony Wellness center in central Florida.

Influenza Coping and Support

You can find relief from your flu symptoms with practical and natural remedies.

Salt water or saline nasal drops – You can get these drops at any grocery or drug store over-the-counter. They are very safe for children, nonirritating and quite effective. To use, apply a number of drops into one nostril. Later on, blow gently the saline and mucus out of the treated nostril. Do the same process in the other nostril until nostrils are unclogged.

Lozenges – Slowly allow the lozenges to melt in your mouth. These lozenges help to coat and moisten your itchy throat and lessen your cough brought about by the flu.

Humidifier – Besides a warm mist humidifier, you can also use a vaporizer if the air is dry. This will reduce blockage in your nostrils and help lessen your coughing. The humidifier you use should always be clean otherwise molds and bacteria will just circulate in the air.

Steam – You can merely inhale steam from boiling water by putting your face just above the container with the hot water (be careful not to be scalded). You can also sit in a steamy bathroom and allow the steam melt your mucus and open your airways. If you still experience congestion, close the bathroom door and allow the shower to fill the room with steam. Just be careful not to be scalded by the hot water. One other way to use steam to relieve your symptoms is by filling your bathroom sink with steaming water and mixing Vick’s Vapo rub (about 1 tsp) in it. Inhale the steam for a number of minutes until you find relief from your congestion. Another option is to mix menthol or eucalyptus oil to the hot water and inhale on the steam. Eucalyptus can help you breathe easier, clear airway blockage and open up the bronchial tubes.

Cough expectorants and suppressants – Cough medicines that can be availed over-the-counter (OTC) provide adequate remedies to suppress cough. Some of these OTC cough medications are expectorants that melt thick mucus making it easy to expel.

Treat fever and aches – One symptom of the flu is fever. This happens because the body needs to raise its temperature to fight viral flu infection. For body pain and fever you can rely on OTC drugs such as naproxen (Naprosyn or Aleve), ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Aspirin can be very bad for children 18 yrs old and below who may or may not have symptoms of cold or flu because it can cause a sickness termed Reye’s syndrome which is a very severe illness that destroys the liver and brain and liver.

Fluids – Drink more water and fluids when you are suffering from the flu. These can include chicken soup (clear soups), sports drinks, herbal tea and fruit juices.  They enable the respiratory system to stay hydrated and melt thick mucus that can accumulate and be filled with pathogens that infect your bronchial tubes.

Rest – Rest for adequate hours in your home. When your flu symptoms start to manifest, you need to call your school or your job and tell them you cannot come in because you are sick. The need to rest and the contagiousness of the disease are very valid reasons not to go to school or work. Rest and relax by watching your favorite movies or sleep to help your body fight the flu virus.

Brent Keime, LAc, MSTOM
4410 Lamont Street
San Diego, CA 92109
Phone: 619-800-2287
http://weloveacupuncture.com/

Asthma Symptoms

Asthma comes with the typical signs and symptoms like:

  • Shortness of breath – Asthma is typified by people having difficulty breathing. Asthmatic people feel out of breath or unable to catch their breath. Attempting to breathe air out of the lungs becomes complicated during an asthma attack.
  • Tightness of the chest – The person who has asthma may feel extreme pressure on his chest that feels like something is sitting or squeezing on it.
  • Wheezing – This is like a squeaky or whistling sound coming from inside your chest heard when you breathe
  • Coughing – Hard coughing that becomes more difficult in the early morning and/or at night and prevents the asthmatic person from getting sleep

All of these symptoms may not necessarily be experienced by someone with asthma and people with no asthma but have other upper respiratory problems can also manifest these symptoms. In order to accurately diagnose asthma, physicians study the medical history of the patient, observe the patient’s symptoms especially their frequency and type, perform a physical exam on the patient and apply the lung function test.

A person’s asthma symptoms may change over time especially the number of their occurrence, their degree of severity and even their type. There are times when the symptoms are mild that you can manage them well all day, and sometimes they may be too severe that they may require medical attention. Asthma can become fatal so immediately addressing its symptoms is always important. If you treat asthma properly, expect your day to be smooth with little or no symptoms to bother you the whole day and night.

What Factors Trigger Asthma Symptoms?

Like allergy, asthma can have many things that can trigger its symptoms. Your physician is responsible in helping you identify what your asthma triggers are in order for you to avoid them. Some of the common asthma triggers can include:

Physical activity – This include physical work, exercise, etc.

Upper respiratory infections caused by a virus – This can include colds

Sulfites – Contained in drinks and foods

Medications – These can include nonselective beta-blockers, aspirin and NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)

Chemicals – Sprays (including hairspray), chemicals in home décor products, dust or chemicals in your work, air pollution and cigarette smoke

Allergens from the environment – Pollens from flowers, grasses and trees; mold; cockroaches; animal fur and dander and dust among others

Asthma symptoms can be exacerbated by preexisting health conditions like:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Psychological stress
  • Reflux disease
  • Sinus infections
  • Runny nose

Treating asthma should include treatment of these conditions as well.

Each asthmatic person has its own unique asthma triggers and symptoms and a trigger for one may not affect another. Consult with your physician regarding the things that aggravate your asthma.

Prevention of Migraines

The best way to prevent the onset of migraines or at least to prepare for an incoming attack is to know the triggers causing them and to recognize the preceding symptoms of a migraine attack.

Knowing your migraine early warning signs – The signs or symptoms that precede a migraine attack is known as Prodrome symptoms. Once you already know these signs or symptoms, you can prepare to face your attack by trying to relax and not worry too much. Therefore, to prepare for your incoming migraine attack, remove your stress and do not feel anxious since these two factors can make your migraine pain more painful. Prodrome symptoms can include numbness, tingling in the skin, auras such as flashing lights or blind spots, loss or increase of appetite, edema, thirst and mood swings.

Have a plan to better manage your migraine when it occurs – Although not all types of migraines can be prevented, learning the triggers of your migraine can lead to a substantial reduction of its frequency and severity.  Modifications to your lifestyle are important if you want to better manage your migraine pain as well. Keeping a journal that records the exact time, day and time of year your migraine attacks occur will probably enable your doctor to see a pattern or determine factors that will help head off the migraines and better prepare you to relieve the pain.

Knowing what foods to include in your diet – If you have figured out what foods trigger your migraine attacks, you can avoid them altogether and help you prevent migraine headaches. Eating a well-balanced diet of quality protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruits and free from trigger foods can make you healthier and stronger and more resilient to migraine headaches. Foods rich in vitamin B like low-fat milk, yogurt and eggs can help your body prevent developing migraines. Foods that are rich in magnesium like certain vegetables, soy, wheat germ, whole grains and nuts like almonds help relax the blood vessels and help the body develop healthy cells. Fish rich in omega-3 oils are also good at preventing migraine.

Adhere to a regular sleeping schedule – Get the right amount of sleep to help relax your mind and strengthen your body. Getting little or too much sleep can trigger your migraine. Sleeping interruptions can also bring about episode of migraine.

Sciatica Prevention

It may be difficult to prevent the onset of sciatica, but you can take some measures to help prevent a herniated disc as well as other kinds back problems that can result in sciatica.

Handling and Lifting

Mishandling and improperly lifting objects are one of the most common reasons for back injury especially at work. Knowing and following the right ways for handling and lifting objects can help prevent sciatica and other types of back problems.

  • If you think you cannot lift an object, then don’t. Use equipments to easily move heavy objects from one place to another or get help from another person.
  • When lifting an object spread your feet apart with one a little bit forward than the other to keep your balance. As you lift let your leg muscles take the brunt of the weight. Bend your hips, knees and back a little bit but do not squat or stoop. You also need to tighten your stomach muscles. Before lifting, your legs should not straighten up as doing so might strain your back when you begin to stand.
  • The object needs to be close to your body as much as possible before and during lifting and with the heaviest part of the object nearest your body.
  • Do not neat lean sideways or twist your back especially when your back is bent – Keep your shoulders level in the same direction as your hips. If you need to turn move your feet to the side you need to face.
  • As you lift the object keep your head up with your face looking forward instead of looking downward at the load.
  • It is better to push a heavy object rather than pulling it.
  • Evenly distribute the weight– This should be the case when you carry luggage or shopping bags. Try to share the weight evenly on both sides of your body.

Sitting

Sit upright at all times on a chair that has back support that supports the small of your back. Hips and knees should be level with your feet flat on the floor. If your feet do not reach the floor, use a footstool if possible. You can use a rolled-up towel or a small cushion to bear the weight of the small of the back.

Standing

Stand upright, back straight and head facing forward. Keep your legs straight and keep even balance on both of your feet. When using a keyboard, be sure that your elbows are perpendicular to each other and that your forearms are horizontally positioned to the keyboard.

Driving

When driving keep your lower back well supported. To completely avoid twisting your head or body, position your side mirrors in a proper angle. When you need to drive a long distance, stop every hour to stretch your legs preferably by walking.

Sleeping

You need a firm mattress that properly supports your body. If you have a soft mattress, place a flat hard board or boards thick enough to properly support your whole body under the mattress. Use a pillow to support your head but not too high that it stretches your neck at a steep angle.

Exercise

The best way to prevent and lessen back pain and sciatica is to exercise. If you have chronic back pain or chronic sciatica, then you need to first consult with your doctor before embarking on any type of exercise.

Acivities like swimming or walking are good ways to strengthen the back muscles without exposing them to sudden jolt or putting any strain on them.

Pilates or yoga not only strengthens the back muscles but they also improve the muscles’ flexibility. If you are interested in these exercises, then you need to be guided by a qualified instructor.

You can also perform other simple exercises in the comfort of your own home to prevent or lessen your sciatica.

Bottom lifts – In this exercise you need to lay down with your back on the floor. Then bend the knees in a manner that your feet lay flat on the floor. Slowly then lift your bottom in the air through the tightening of your stomach muscles keeping your back straight at all times. Repeat this procedure five times.

Leg raises – Your body should lay flat on the floor with your back on the floor. Alternately lift each one off the floor while maintaining legs straight at all times. Do this five times.

Wall slides – Stand with your back against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then slowly crouch down that your knees are bent to around 90 degrees. Hold the position for 5 seconds then slide up again in a standing position.  Do this procedure five times.

You can initially perform these routines one or two times a day. As your body gets used to the exercises you can progressively increase them to up to six times a day or as your back permits. These exercises can also serve as “stretching” or “warming up” exercises to prepare your back to handle daily activities at work or at home like vacuum cleaning, gardening or lifting. These exercises help prevent the development of sciatica and other back problems.

Asthma Risk Factors

Most people have specific risk factors that make them prone to respiratory problems like asthma. Avoiding these risk factors is important in preventing asthma conditions. It is true that you can do nothing to change you family history or gender but you definitely can do something to avoid allergens, inhaling pollutants and cigarette smoke that can trigger your asthma

Knowing your asthma triggers is one positive step to prevent asthma attacks. You can maintain a journal that contains situational and environmental factors related to your asthma attacks. Whenever an asthma attack occurs, you can read your journal and read the factor(s) that most probably caused the attack.

Gender – Asthma is usually found in children and boys are more prone to asthma than girls. Interestingly a boy’s airway is smaller than a young girl’s airway and can be one reason why boys tend to have a wheezing sound whenever they have a viral infection or catch a cold. Males and females tend to have an equal amount of risk of asthma when they reach 20 years of age. At the age of 40, women tend to be more prone to asthma attacks than males.

Family History – If your mom or dad has a family history of asthma, you are at high risk to have asthma as well. The fact is more than half (about 60%) of all asthma cases is due to genetic inheritance. A child is six times more likely to have asthma if one or both of his parent has asthma
.
Airway Hyperreactivity – For reasons unknown, a hyperreactive airway makes one very prone to asthma although recent studies have shown that not all people with this condition develop asthma. When a hyperreactive airway comes in contact with an inhaled asthma trigger like cold air or allergens, the airways become easily inflamed increasing the risk of an asthma attack.

Atopy – This is defined as an allergic hypersensitivity affecting different body regions that do not even come in contact with allergens. Atopy conditions can include asthma, allergic conjunctivitis, allergic rhinitis and eczema. Some children with atopic dermatitis or eczema eventually end up with asthma and those with atopic dermatitis manifest persistent and severe asthma attacks as adults do.

Allergies – Asthma and allergies often go hand in hand. One study has shown that endotoxins found in house dust were directly responsible for asthma symptoms in people who are often indoors.

Other types of indoor allergens are mold, fungi, cockroaches, dust mites and animal proteins, dust mites, cockroaches, fungi, and mold. Certain modifications to homes that make it more energy efficient are suspected to make people even more exposed to these allergens.

Environmental Factors – These can include paints, fumes from household furniture, molds, cigarette smoke, high humidity, cold temperatures, ozone, nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide and they all can cause asthma and allergies. Ozone causes the urban phenomenon smog which in turn causes effects like infection, chest pain, breathing difficulty and coughing. Sulfur dioxide from fumes of diesel engines can be deadly and it narrows and irritates the airways which can result in asthma attacks. Nitrogen dioxide usually comes from gas stoves. Inhaling this gas often increases the risk for an asthma attack.

Cold air prompts the body to produce more mucus which can congest the aiways. A high humidity can cause people breathing difficulties.

The smoke from cigarettes travel to the lungs and airways irritating them and this tends to narrow the airways making one likely to risk an asthma attack. Children’s exposure to secondhand smoke can make them to develop asthma during their childhood.

Obesity – Studies have directly associated being overweight to developing asthma. Overweight children and adults can both be at risk to develop asthma. Overweight asthmatics tend to experience more uncontrolled asthma attacks than people with normal weight.

Pregnancy – Smoking during pregnancy usually results in poorer lung function of the baby. It can also lead to premature birth which also is a risk factor in getting asthma.

 

BodaHealth
1245 West Broadway #302
Vancouver, BC V6H 1G7, Canada
(604) 733-2632
http://bodahealth.ca/