Shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and great anxiety are familiar symptoms to those who suffer with asthma. Some people even experience prodromal symptoms such as chest tightness, itching throat, coughing or sneezing. Breathing can be rapid and shallow with difficult inhalation. Physical exertion can aggravate symptoms. Even lying down can cause difficulty in breathing.
Bronchial asthma is usually episodic and reoccurring during a person’s life. The large and small airways become narrowed causing spasms of the smooth muscles, edema or swelling and inflammation of the bronchi, and production of mucus. Often, asthma is in some way related to allergy.
Asthma presents itself differently to each person. Some have very infrequent attacks and are asymptomatic between episodes, other people suffer from chronic cough, and wheezing, and often times, patients are found to need emergency services due to asthma attack.
Chinese medicine does a very good job of treating asthma and related symptoms. Unlike Western medicine which treats patients with similar medications (Beta-adrenergic agents, corticosteroids, anticholinergic agents), a TCM practitioner will carefully make a differential diagnosis to determine the root cause(s) of the symptoms and treat these accordingly. (Please note that nothing takes the place of emergency western medical care when suffering from an acute asthma attack.)
Elements to consider when making a diagnosis include external pathogens, cold or heat, internal deficiencies, or combinations of external AND internal conditions, constitutional phlegm conditions, and involvement of internal organ energy systems of lung, spleen, and kidney. Combinations of any and all of these are possible and must be determined based on the presentation of symptoms.
Your practitioner may use acupuncture, herbal formulas, and dietary/lifestyle recommendations to help you experience relief from your symptoms of asthma. In addition, various treatments can be used during the remission stage so as to prevent future acute attacks.