Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Respiration and The Need For Respiratory Therapists

For us, breathing is automatic that we tend not to notice it. Every time we inhale, we draw fresh oxygen into our lungs, which then make its way to our bloodstream transporting it to all the cells of our bodies. This process enables them to burn essential nutrients that are vital to life.

During breathing, our chest rises and our diaphragm expands downward. This creates a kind of vacuum in the chest. Through this vacuum, the air is transported into the upper and lower respiratory passages. As we exhale, our lungs and chest go back to their initial position and air is expelled through the respiratory passages. The act of respiration depends on the current metabolic condition of the body. Therefore, respiration adjusts when the body is at rest or in motion.

Not everyone has normal respiration. Others that suffer from chronic respiratory disorders need help through treatments and respiratory therapies in order to have proper respiration.

Over the years, the demand for respiratory therapy has grown, mainly because it is considered by many as very systematic and gentle. The therapy includes a mild dose of nebulized medicine that is given quickly during inhalation to the respiratory passages as a kind of soft aerosol targeting passages where it can act quickly.

Asthma, Bronchitis, Pulmonary Emphysema

Asthma is one of the most common respiratory disorders. It causes lungs' airways to become narrow and inflamed. This leads to shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing. These symptoms are recurring and thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Bronchitis is another respiratory disorders that is quite common. It is described as the swelling of the main air passages to the lungs and can either be acute or chronic. Typical symptoms of bronchitis are coughing, excess mucus and sputum.

Pulmonary Emphysema is a chronic lung condition where the alveoli or air sacs may be destroyed, narrowed, collapsed, stretched or over-inflated. These cause a decrease in the functions of the respiratory system and breathlessness, as well.

The Need For Respiratory Therapists

For those afflicted with the abovementioned disorders, it is important that you take better care of your health. By being given the proper care from a respiratory therapist. While respiratory therapists are not considered doctors, they are experts of life support equipment operation and pulmonary diseases. With their knowledge on respiratory functions, they are able to give proper recommendations and diagnosis to doctors.

Monday, June 18, 2012

How to Plan for Your Next Asthma Check-Up

Asthmatics need to visit the doctor regularly for check-ups. Because there is no cure for this chronic inflammatory disorder, sufferers need to put extra effort in preventing it by seeking regular medical help. The treatment process requires you to become proactive and disciplined, and here are some ways in which you can effectively plan your next visit.

Prepare questions.

If this is your first time to consult the doctor regarding asthma, what you need to do is ask all the questions you have in mind. The best way to deal with this is to have a notebook that records all your experiences and things that you want to know more about. For instance, if you notice that you or your loved one reacts strangely to household allergens like pets, pests, and dust; notice frequent bacterial or viral infections; or experience bad reactions to certain foods--you must list them all down and tell the doctor each and every detail you can remember. Asking questions will not only enlighten you, but will also provide your doctor information on how to treat you. Because not all asthma conditions are the same, your doctor will need to find out what kind of control will work best. Once your doctor has given you all the necessary instructions, you must also ask details on why you need to do them--this will allow you to be more aware of the condition.

Make a list of your medications.

The doctor deals with many patients with different conditions, so help out by providing a list of medications that you're taking. This will make the consultation go faster, and your doctor will immediately know which meds will work best on you. You will be given an asthma management plan upon consultation, and you will be constantly updating this as you move forward.

Ask a friend/family member to go to the doctor with you.

Having an extra pair of ears will allow you to not overlook anything that the doctor tells you. Ask someone to do the visit with you, and also give them the task of listening to the doctor's instructions. Having someone go through all of this will allow you to be optimistic about your condition. This is something that is overlooked by many, but moral support serves a great tool in making asthma sufferers (especially kids) feel better. There are several asthma support groups available for adults, but having simple, casual will already help a lot.

Have the doctor demonstrate how to take your medication.

You will most likely be given inhalers for controlling your asthma, and you need to learn how to use them. Especially for kids, there is a need to know how to effectively use an inhaler--you need to make sure that the medicine reaches the airways properly.

Following these pieces of advice will allow you to manage asthma better. By cooperating with your doctor, you will be able to control and easily make changes to improve asthma and allow you to still be able to perform regular activities.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Facts Of Asthma

Asthma is a common medical condition that affects the respiratory system. There are various types, and they are controlled differently, but the symptoms in each are similar. Symptoms include shortness of breath, tightness of in the chest, coughing and wheezing. Symptoms may vary from mild to severe, and often increase during respiratory illnesses and infections.

Types of Asthma

The major types of asthma are atopic, non atopic, aspirin induced, occupational and allergic bronchopulmonary asthma.

Atopic Asthma

Most people are familiar with atopic asthma, which is triggered by environmental agents such as dust, pollen, dust mite pellets and contact with animals. Environmental pollution and modern living conditions may have contributed to the recent rise in asthma. There is often a family history, and there may be associated hay fever or eczema. Smoking during pregnancy and around young children may also contribute to them developing asthma.

Environmental agents trigger asthma by irritating the bronchial airways, causing the airways to become inflamed and constrict. Mucus is also produced which further obstructs the airways. The reaction is mediated by the immune system and caused by the production of histamine.

Non Atopic Asthma

Non atopic asthma produces similar symptoms but does not appear to be caused by an immune system reaction. Instead it is associated with recurrent respiratory tract infections and the local irritation and inflammation these cause.

Aspirin Induced Asthma

Aspirin induced asthma often first manifests as rhinitis, with sneezing, eye watering, a runny nose and nasal congestion. Patients can also present with nasal polyps and skin urticaria, as well as typical asthma symptoms. A sensitivity to other non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) drugs such as ibuprofen and beta blockers such as propranolol is also common.

Aspirin induced asthma is linked to a reduction in prostaglandin and thromboxane production, which causes an increase in leukotrienes. Leukotrienes are fatty signalling molecules that cause mucus secretion and bronchial constriction.

Occupational Asthma

Occupational asthma is triggered by various agents in the workplace such as wood dust, flour dust, dust from latex rubber, and dust from animals. However in the UK occupational asthma is most commonly caused by chemicals known as isocyanates. These are found in products such as paints, adhesives, rubbers and pesticides.

If safe alternatives to isocyanates are not available, safety precautions should be taken to minimise exposure. These include installing extractor fans or fume cupboards, wearing breathing equipment and participating in health and safety training. Employers should carry out risk assessments and monitor employees exposed to isocyanates or other hazardous substances.

Allergic Bronchopulmonary Asthma

Allergic bronchopulmonary asthma is specifically due to inhaling Aspergillus fumigates spores, a fungus often found in soil and decaying organic matter. The spores trigger an immune response and typical asthma symptoms. Healthy individuals are able to combat infection, but immunosuppressed patients may develop further conditions which can be serious.

Diagnosis of Asthma

Asthma is typically diagnosed with two tests known as spirometry and peak flow assessment. Spirometry measures the amounts of air an individual can blow out in one second and in one complete breath. These figures are taken together to give a value. Peak flow assessment measures the speed of air blown out from the lungs.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Home Remedies For Asthma

Home remedies for asthma are probably not used as much as they should be.

Asthma is a condition that makes breathing difficult. It's caused when airways narrow, swell and produce extra mucus. It's hard to breathe and it triggers coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Home remedies for asthma should be discovered and used diligently.

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects 20 million Americans, and includes almost 1 in 10 children.

During an asthma attack, the airways in the lung's (bronchioles) become inflamed. When this happens, they contract and become lined with excessive amounts of mucous. This then restricts the airflow, making it very difficult to breathe. There are several home remedies for asthma that can be implemented to help relieve this mucous buildup.

For some people, asthma is not a major problem, but for others, it's a very serious and scary issue that interferes with daily living and could lead to a life threatening asthma attack.

Most doctors believe that asthma can't be cured, but its symptoms can be controlled. I believe home remedies for asthma are the best answer in strengthening not only your lungs, but also your total immune system.

These attacks are triggered by pollution or some environmental irritant like change in air temperature or humidity, stress, allergies, cigarette smoke, cleaning agents, or other toxins.

Your bodies first line of defense is your immune system. Specialized cells and organs help your body recognize and respond to foreign invaders. Your immune system even has its own circulatory system, called the lymphatic system, to help "filter" out these attackers.

If your immune system can't do its job, the problems that follow can be serious. A weakened immune system is evidenced by allergies and asthma.

When an immune system gets so weakened, that the normal germs, bacteria, viruses, etc. that we're all exposed to can tear our health down, we are at serious risk.

Chronic asthma can be a frightening condition which often requires vigilance to prevent and minimize the occurrence of acute attacks. The standard conventional Western medicine usually only treats symptoms. I always prefer homeopathic or naturalistic treatment.

While many asthma attacks are relatively mild and can be treated at home, some can be quite severe and may even require hospitalization.

A doctor can do a physical examination and non-invasive lung functioning test to determine if you or your child has asthma.

Your physician may also examine the skin and ask if there is a history of hives, eczema or skin-related allergies, since there is a common link between skin reactions and chronic asthma. If a diagnosis is confirmed, it is important to discuss different treatment options with your doctor and explore home remedies for asthma, rather than just accepting the doctors prescribed drugs.

Remember, there are always side effects with pharmaceuticals.

It is so critical to have strong and healthy immune system. Strengthening the immune system should negate the need for taking antibiotics and help avoid unnecessary medications.

Natural remedies have been used for thousands of years to help promote a healthy immune system, so that the body works at its best ability to ward off disease and infection.

Herbs like Echinacea purpurea, Astragalus membranaceous, Inula helenium, and Withania somnifera are known to be effective for their antiviral, anti fungal and antibacterial properties, as well as their excellent ability to strengthen the immune system.

These herbs work as a tonic for the immune system and are recommended to help prevent and aid recovery from illness or infection.

Home Remedies For Asthma Foods

Magnesium has been shown to improve asthma sufferers' ability to breathe. Foods containing magnesium include whole grains, green leafy vegetables, almonds, cashews, peanuts, beet greens, spinach, wheat bran, Brazil nuts, soybean flour, pumpkin and squash seeds, bran cereals, bananas, chocolate and agar seaweed.

Spices containing magnesium include basil, celery seed, sage, coriander, cumin seed, tarragon and marjoram.

Asthma sufferers tend to have low levels of selenium in their bodies. Selenium combines with proteins in the body to form selenoproteins, or antioxidant enzymes, that play a huge role in the immune system.

Fresh vitamin C rich fruits given to children with asthma was shown to be effective in reducing asthmatic wheezing.

Part of a healthy diet should include, fruits rich in vitamin C, including papayas, strawberries, cantaloupe, grapefruit, tangerines, mangoes and guavas.

Broccoli, cabbage greens, bell peppers, potatoes with skin and raw spinach are also some vegetables that contain high amounts of vitamin C.

Apples, parsley, onions, tea, red wine, dark berries, cherries, citrus fruits, and olive oil contain quercetin, an antioxidant and flavonoid.

Quercetin is anti-inflammatory and acts as an antihistamine in the body, inhibiting cells from releasing histamines. There is no scientific evidence as yet that quercetin can help reduce symptoms of asthma, but it's being studied as a treatment for asthma.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Different Types of Asthma Inhaler Devices

If you are a sufferer of asthma, you will appreciate how it feels to have tightness in the chest or to grasp for air. With the help of the right asthma medication it is possible to prevent these symptoms, which is available in either long-term or quick-relief controlled medications. Most of the medications that come in inhaled form are meant to be used on a daily basis to assist in keeping the airways clear and healthy at all times. Even if no symptoms exist it is still recommended to take a daily dose of medication. Due to the nature of the inhaled medication, it is directed straight to the area it is most needed, the bronchial tubes, which is what is needed to open the airways. Also, a further benefit to the asthma suffer is that a standard asthma inhaler comes with less side-effects than alternative medication take by injection or by mouth.

Let's look at the three most common inhalation devices for the asthma sufferer -

Metered-dose Inhaler (MDI) - the most commonly used of the three basic types of asthma inhalation devices is the metered-dose inhaler which relies on a chemical propellant to drive a short-burst of medication out of the inhaler, which is then inhaled by the patient.

Dry Powder Inhaler (DPI) - these inhalers draw-in a dose of medication by using the patients own breath, which needs to be a strong and fast inhalation. A downside to this type of inhaler is the cost, often more expensive than the MDIs and can also these devices are always practical if a patients lung function is compromised, for instance if suffering an asthma attack, a patient might find it difficult to generate sufficient airflow to inhale the medication.

Nebulizer - a nebulizer is a breathing machine used to administer a fine liquid mist into a patient's lungs. A patient uses a facemask or mouthpiece to help deliver the medication which is drawn into the lungs using oxygen or air under pressure. Nebulizer's in battery or electric form are the most expensive of the three inhalation devices and come in several different sizes and shapes.

Irrespective of which device is used, it is important to use the inhaler in the correct manner to ensure the ideal dosage of medication reaches the lungs. Improper usage can have the result of a less medication getting into the lungs than required. For all medical devices it is vital to educate yourself with the right usage techniques, which can be learnt by reading the instructions that come with the inhaler or discussing the mater with your doctor.