Asthma is a form of reversible obstructive lung disease with many variations.
Asthma involves only the airways (bronchi and bronchioles), and not the air sacs
in the lung. Asthma is one of the 3 manifestations of a pattern of allergy,
called atopy. The associated disorders are eczema and hay fever. Often patients
have positive skin tests to inhalant allergens which cause hay fever and may
have skin reactions to foods which prove to be a problem. Foods that produce
significant positive skin tests should be avoided in the diet; however, other
foods that do not show skin reactions may contribute to the disease. If all the
attention is directed toward the more obvious skin-positive inhalant allergies,
an opportunity to benefit from comprehensive diet revision is lost.
The airways trap airborne particles in a thin layer of mucus that covers
their surface. The mucus is either coughed-up or swept up into the trachea by
cilia, tiny hairs on the lining of the airways. Once the mucus reaches the
throat, it can be coughed up or swallowed. The asthmatic's airway is
hyper-reactive. In response to stimuli, the airway may become obstructed by:
constriction of the muscles in bronchi and bronchioles, narrowing the airway,
inflammation and swelling of the airway with obstruction of air flow.
In the past, medical textbooks divided asthma into outside and inside forms.
Extrinsic (outside) asthma tended to occur in sudden attacks triggered
by exposure to airborne materials.
Intrinsic (inside) asthma seemed to occur repeatedly or continuously
for no apparent reason.
Since asthmatics are often allergic individuals, it is
common for an asthmatic to react to both airborne and food triggers and to
develop more complex sensitivities as they progress along the disease path.
Asthma is increasing worldwide and higher numbers of deaths from asthma in
affluent countries worry authorities. Hospitalization for asthma has increased
by 50% over the past 20 years, and deaths from asthma in the United States have
increased. It is suggested that mortality is particularly high
in lower socioeconomic groups who are exposed to higher levels of air pollution
and have poorer access to early and effective medical care. Air-borne
particulates may be major factor in the increasing morbidity from asthma.
Airborne allergens and chemicals cause respiratory disease - inflammation in
the nose and in the lung. Lung inflammation is often expressed as asthma. Air
pollution, both indoor and outdoor, can play a role in the exacerbation of
airway disease in asthmatics and may contribute to the overall increase in
asthma morbidity in recent decades. The most serious airborne problems at home
are cigarette smoke, dust, molds, and house dust mites.
Food allergy is an important cause of
asthma. Food-induced wheezing is sometimes recognized in infants who often have food
allergy especially to cow’s milk. Asthma and eczema often go together in infants
and young children. Food allergy is seldom recognized in older children,
adolescents and adults and diet revision is almost never considered in the
treatment of asthma. This is a tragic oversight.
The three basic treatment choices are:
- Remove the causes of Asthma
- Treat the symptoms
- Alter the host to be more tolerate of the causes
Remove the original cause.
Consider asthma to be an allergic disease and look at the air and food
supplies for the triggers of asthma. Here is a simple problem-solving approach.
If asthmatic; then
- Stop all smoking and association with smokers
- Stop all use of volatile chemicals
- If attacks of asthma are intermittent and related to airborne exposures then
avoid the exposure or wear air-purifying filters when exposed and/or use
- If asthma attacks are seasonal and related to plant cycles, then get allergy
tests and consider using preventive medication. If pollen allergy is the main
and only cause of asthma, consider immunotherapy.
- If asthma is chronic and tends to occur in all seasons and is not related to
airborne exposure, then consider delayed pattern food allergy as the cause and
do diet revision using the Alpha Nutrition Program.