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Workshop on Asthma

 

What Is Asthma?

 

Asthma (AZ-ma) is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning.

 

Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. In the United States, more than 25 million people are known to have asthma. About 7 million of these people are children.

 

Overview

 

To understand asthma, it helps to know how the airways work. The airways are tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs. People who have asthma have inflamed airways. The inflammation makes the airways swollen and very sensitive. The airways tend to react strongly to certain inhaled substances.

 

When the airways react, the muscles around them tighten. This narrows the airways, causing less air to flow into the lungs. The swelling also can worsen, making the airways even narrower. Cells in the airways might make more mucus than usual. Mucus is a sticky, thick liquid that can further narrow the airways.

 

This chain reaction can result in asthma symptoms. Symptoms can happen each time the airways are inflamed.

ASTHMA

ASTHMA

 

Figure A shows the location of the lungs and airways in the body. Figure B shows a cross-section of a normal airway. Figure C shows a cross-section of an airway during asthma symptoms.

Figure A shows the location of the lungs and airways in the body. Figure B shows a cross-section of a normal airway. Figure C shows a cross-section of an airway during asthma symptoms.

 

Sometimes asthma symptoms are mild and go away on their own or after minimal treatment with asthma medicine. Other times, symptoms continue to get worse.

 

When symptoms get more intense and/or more symptoms occur, you’re having an asthma attack. Asthma attacks also are called flareups or exacerbations (eg-zas-er-BA-shuns).

 

Treating symptoms when you first notice them is important. This will help prevent the symptoms from worsening and causing a severe asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care, and they can be fatal.

 

Outlook

 

Asthma has no cure. Even when you feel fine, you still have the disease and it can flare up at any time.

 

However, with today’s knowledge and treatments, most people who have asthma are able to manage the disease. They have few, if any, symptoms. They can live normal, active lives and sleep through the night without interruption from asthma.

 

If you have asthma, you can take an active role in managing the disease. For successful, thorough, and ongoing treatment, build strong partnerships with your doctor and other health care providers.

 

What Causes Asthma?

The exact cause of asthma isn’t known. Researchers think some genetic and environmental factors interact to cause asthma, most often early in life. These factors include:

  • An inherited tendency to develop allergies, called atopy (AT-o-pe)
  • Parents who have asthma
  • Certain respiratory infections during childhood
  • Contact with some airborne allergens or exposure to some viral infections in infancy or in early childhood when the immune system is developing

If asthma or atopy runs in your family, exposure to irritants (for example, tobacco smoke) may make your airways more reactive to substances in the air.

Some factors may be more likely to cause asthma in some people than in others. Researchers continue to explore what causes asthma.

The “Hygiene Hypothesis”

One theory researchers have for what causes asthma is the “hygiene hypothesis.” They believe that our Western lifestyle—with its emphasis on hygiene and sanitation—has resulted in changes in our living conditions and an overall decline in infections in early childhood.

Many young children no longer have the same types of environmental exposures and infections as children did in the past. This affects the way that young children’s immune systems develop during very early childhood, and it may increase their risk for atopy and asthma. This is especially true for children who have close family members with one or both of these conditions.

Who Is at Risk for Asthma?

Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. In the United States, more than 22 million people are known to have asthma. Nearly 6 million of these people are children.

Young children who often wheeze and have respiratory infections—as well as certain other risk factors—are at highest risk of developing asthma that continues beyond 6 years of age. The other risk factors include having allergies, eczema (an allergic skin condition), or parents who have asthma.

 

Among children, more boys have asthma than girls. But among adults, more women have the disease than men. It’s not clear whether or how sex and sex hormones play a role in causing asthma.

Most, but not all, people who have asthma have allergies.

Some people develop asthma because of contact with certain chemical irritants or industrial dusts in the workplace. This type of asthma is called occupational asthma.

 

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Asthma?

Common signs and symptoms of asthma include:

  • Coughing. Coughing from asthma often is worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep.
  • Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound that occurs when you breathe.
  • Chest tightness. This may feel like something is squeezing or sitting on your chest.
  • Shortness of breath. Some people who have asthma say they can’t catch their breath or they feel out of breath. You may feel like you can’t get air out of your lungs.

Not all people who have asthma have these symptoms. Likewise, having these symptoms doesn’t always mean that you have asthma. The best way to diagnose asthma for certain is to use a lung function test, a medical history (including type and frequency of symptoms), and a physical exam.

The types of asthma symptoms you have, how often they occur, and how severe they are may vary over time. Sometimes your symptoms may just annoy you. Other times, they may be troublesome enough to limit your daily routine.

Severe symptoms can be fatal. It’s important to treat symptoms when you first notice them so they don’t become severe.

With proper treatment, most people who have asthma can expect to have few, if any, symptoms either during the day or at night.

YOGA ON Asthma

You’ve probably tried a lot of things to tackle asthma better. But have you considered one of the simplest and promisingly effective solutions out there – YOGA? Yes, the ancient art of yoga is indeed one of the best solutions to your breathing problem. A couple of hours spent learning yoga at Jagriti Yoga Institute will equip you with postures that help reduce the effects of asthma and may even help cure it permanently.

Here’s a list of few basic breathing techniques and yoga postures to help you counter asthma more effectively:


1. Deep yogic breaths use our lungs to its maximum capacity and also help us to learn breathing correctly.

Deep Yogic Breaths

Deep Yogic Breaths

 

2. Nadi Shodhan pranayama (Alternate nostril breathing technique)

Begin with this pranayama (breathing technique) to calm your mind and relieving the body of accumulated stress. This breathing technique has a healing effect on many respiratory and circulatory problems.

 

Nadi Shodhan Pranayama

Nadi Shodhan Pranayama

 

3. Kapal Bhati pranayama (Skull shining breathing technique)

This breathing technique relaxes the mind and energizes the nervous system. It also clears all the nadis (energy channels) and improves blood circulation.

Kapal Bhati Pranayama

Kapal Bhati Pranayama

 

4. Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting half spinal twist)

The Sitting half spinal twist opens the chest and improves the supply of oxygen to the lungs, thereby reducing the probability of asthma restricting you.

 

Ardha Matsyendrasana

Ardha Matsyendrasana

 

5. Pavanamuktasana (Wind relieving pose)

This pose is good for people with asthma as it massages the abdominal organs and helps in digestion and release of gas.

 

Pavanamuktasana

Pavanamuktasana

 

6. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)

The Bridge pose opens up the chest, lungs and reduces thyroid problem. It also improves digestion and is very effective for asthma patients.

 

Setu Bandhasana

Setu Bandhasana

7. Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)

The Cobra pose expands the chest, improves blood circulation and is highly recommended for people with asthma.

 

Bhujangasana

Bhujangasana

 

8. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-facing dog pose)

This pose helps in calming the mind, relieves stress and is good for people suffering from asthma and sinusitis.

 

Adho Mukha Svanasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana

9. Badhakonasana (Butterfly pose)

The Butterfly pose stimulates and improves the blood circulation, relieves fatigue and has therapeutic effect on asthma.

 

Badhakonasana

Badhakonasana

 

10. Poorvottanasana (Upward plank pose)

The Upward plank pose improves the respiratory system, stimulates the thyroid gland and also strengthens wrists, arms, back and spine.

Poorvottanasana

Poorvottanasana

11. Shavasana (Corpse pose)

End your yoga practice by lying down for a few minutes in the Corpse pose. This pose brings the body in a meditative state, rejuvenates you and also helps reduce anxiety and pressure. A calm and relaxed body and mindset is of essence to tackle asthma.

 

A daily practice of these postures for 15 – 20 minutes will considerably reduce your chances of an asthma attack and may even help you get rid of it. A few minutes spent meditating will also enhance your experience and help calm your mind.

.Your control over asthma will let you choose how much you enjoy your life. With a potent shield like yoga, you can experience life in its totality and be carefree. Yoga lets you expand your capabilities and live life to its fullest.

Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor and Experienced Yoga teacher. Do you need information on courses or share feedback? Write to us.