Deepak Singh, a young call centre employee in Kanpur, thought nothing of exercising regularly and climbing stairs – they were normal and natural movements to him. That is, until around three years back.
He was 32 years of age when he noticed during routine physical activities that his efficiency had taken a dive.
He did not have the earlier stamina any more to do different exercises on machines while his friends and colleagues could continue as before. He would get breathless at the slightest exertion. Climbing stairs and running long distances were becoming increasingly challenging.
Looking back at how it began, Singh now says, “Exposure to dust, smoke, and cold weather made my condition worse. My sleep was also affected.” All these things mentally affected him to a great extent as he wanted to lead a healthy life.
To put an end to this, he went to a doctor who diagnosed that Singh has asthma. The doctor prescribed to him an inhaler to manage the condition. But as the days went by, it only temporarily relieved his symptoms. By now, he had also developed symptoms of allergic rhinitis such as sneezing and runny nose.
Singh started looking for a sustained management of his condition. That is when he visited a homeopath after a friend suggested it.
A happy outcome
The homeopath took a detailed history of his lifestyle and habits and told Singh that immense pressure at work had triggered his asthma. She prescribed a customised medicine.
“Six months after taking homeopathic medicines, I could see an improvement in my overall well-being, including sleep. The number of asthma attacks has reduced significantly, and the use of the inhaler has also reduced,” he says.
Singh says his symptoms of allergic rhinitis have also decreased.
According to a 2022 research, asthma and allergic rhinitis can often coexist as both are related to an overactive immune response.
How is it caused?
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, asthma is a chronic or long-term condition that affects the airways of the lungs; these are the pipes that allow air to go in and out of the lungs.
Dr Sonika Bajpai, homeopathic consultant, Weclinic, Kanpur, says, “In an asthma attack when the person breathes in dust, pollen or polluted air, the airways become narrow, swollen and produce mucus. These things together make breathing difficult.”
Read more about asthma.
What exactly causes asthma is not known but researchers point to genetics and environmental interactions. There are triggers that activate the immune system which then plays a major role in the development of asthma symptoms.
Asthma triggers vary from person to person. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), US, list a few common ones.
- Tobacco smoke
- Dust mites
- Air pollution
- Pests (e.g. cockroaches, mice)
- Cleaning chemicals and disinfectants
Dr Bajpai says lung infections, strong emotions like stress and laughter, cold weather and acid reflux can also trigger asthma.
Striking at the root cause
Dr Deeksha Katiyar, homeopathic consultant at Weclinic, Kanpur, says homeopathic medicine target the root causes of the condition.
“[Homeopathy] manages asthma in a holistic way by taking into account every aspect of the person – such as the symptoms, the sleep pattern, appetite, and even psychological factors such as stress. We address the root cause of the condition.”
Homeopaths say medicines such as Spongia Tosta, Natrum Sulphuricum and Antimonium Tartaricum are a few common prescriptions for asthma.
The drugs address the overactive immune system believed to be the culprit behind the asthma attacks.
Dr Bajpai says, “Apart from adult-onset asthma, childhood asthma is also managed with homeopathic medicines as they are gentle and safe for children.”
Stress being one of the reasons for an attack, she says stress-reducing therapies like yoga and meditation are often suggested.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends mindful breathing as a technique to reduce stress and mentions the following steps:
- Start breathing in and out slowly.
- Breathe in through the nose and exhale through the mouth, letting the breath flow easily.
- Inhale for seven seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds and let the breath out for seven seconds.
- While focussing on breathing, relax and let go of other thoughts.
- Repeat this cycle three times.
As a part of the goal to prevent and manage asthma, it is essential to closely watch and monitor the triggers and totally avoid or limit exposure to the triggers.. Wearing a mask, washing hands, and staying in well-ventilated places or indoors may help.
As lung infection is one of the triggers, people who are prone to asthma should keep away from other people having a cold or lung infections.
In any situation, do consult a physician for mitigation of the condition and never treat yourself.