Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Childhood Asthma - An Epidemic

Asthma is a chronic and inflammatory disease of the lung. Your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen. That makes them very sensitive, and they may react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating. When your airways react, they get narrower and your lungs get less air. This can cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and trouble breathing, especially early in the morning or at night.

When your asthma symptoms become worse than usual, it's called an asthma attack. These attacks may start slowly, with increasing signs of respiratory distress and tightness in the chest. In a severe asthma attack, the airways can close so much that your vital organs do not get enough oxygen. People can die from severe asthma attacks.

Asthma is the most common chronic disorder of childhood. According to the NIH, nine million children under the age of 18 are currently diagnosed as asthmatic—a more than 200% increase over the last 30 years. Roughly six million—or nearly one in every 10—school-aged children suffers from asthma, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And if yours is one of those children, then you know the terror of watching them gasp for breath in an asthma attack. Children have smaller airways than adults, which makes asthma especially serious for them. One in 12 Americans of all ages is affected.

No one knows why some people get asthma and others don’t, but, hereditary factors do play a role. People with asthma usually have “triggers” which make them wheeze. Knowing your triggers can help you control your disease.  Some of these triggers include

  • Allergens - mold, pollen, animals
  • Irritants - cigarette smoke, air pollution
  • Weather - cold air, changes in weather
  • Exercise
  • Infections - flu, common cold, respiratory infections
  • Food allergies

Environmental pollution may be one of the leading causes of this growing epidemic. Exposure to a wide variety of chemicals has also been linked to increased risk of asthma. Food allergies and sensitivities are identified in three-fourths of asthma sufferers.

The most common asthma symptoms in children are coughing and wheezing. Other asthma symptoms in children include shortness of breath (difficulty breathing) and chest tightness

We have known for a long time that asthma is the most common chronic disease in children, the primary reason why kids with chronic diseases miss school days and among the top three reasons why children end up in emergency rooms or are admitted into hospitals. Floyd J. Malveaux, M.D., Ph.D.

According to the Mayo Clinic staff respiratory infections such as colds and the flu are one of the most common causes of asthma flare-ups, especially in young children. A stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, fever or other signs and symptoms caused by a cold or flu (influenza) virus can be a nuisance. But if you have asthma, even a minor respiratory infection can cause major problems. Asthma signs and symptoms such as wheezing and chest tightness may not respond as well to regular asthma medications. Also, asthma symptoms caused by a respiratory infection may last for several days to weeks.

There's no sure way to keep yourself or your child from getting a cold or the flu. But taking steps to avoid getting sick — and taking the right steps when you do — can help.

Antibiotic Use In Infants Linked To Asthma

Research indicates that children who receive antibiotics before their first birthday are significantly more likely to develop asthma by age 7. The study, published in the June (2007) issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), reports that children receiving antibiotics in the first year of life were at greater risk for developing asthma by age 7 than those not receiving antibiotics. The risk for asthma doubled in children receiving antibiotics for nonrespiratory infections, as well as in children who received multiple antibiotic courses and who did not live with a dog during the first year.

Nutritional Support for Asthma

Based on the above study, my first recommendation is to keep your child’s immune system strong to ward off colds and infections. Another important suggestion is to clear the home of all toxic cleaners and laundry products and replace them with safer, non-toxic alternatives.

To build up the immune system, in addition to a healthy diet I would recommend the following supplements:

  • Multivitamin
  • Soy protein
  • Chewable Vitamin C
  • Probiotics (key)
  • Garlic
After taking all sorts of different supplements, I finally found that the supplements from Shaklee were the only ones that improved my health. That’s why I made the decision to market them 14 years ago. So those are the products I would recommend for a natural approach to asthma. If you decide to try this program, just be sure that you select supplements from a reputable company that does a lot of research and testing. And if you have any questions, please be sure to contact me.

To your health,