Millions of people suffer from Asthma every year. As a matter of fact, there are approximately 300 million individuals worldwide, as well as 20 million people in the United States who have been diagnosed with asthma. What is asthma and how does the human body respond to it?
Asthma is a lung disorder in which a variety of substances, or toxins, enter the body through the airways in the nasal passages, as well as through the mouth. Many people have the misconception that asthma is the failure to inhale, rather, it is the inability to exhale because the air passages are inflamed and particular blood vessels are constricted. People who do not have asthma can process these substances without irritation; however, different people react differently to these foreign toxins making it very difficult to breathe. The various substances that cause asthma can be different scents or allergens. Some common irritants that people with asthma are more sensitive to are cigarette smoke, perfumes and cologne’s, dust mites, mold and mildew, bacteria and viruses, as well as flowers, candles, and cleaning products, like bleach. Such imposters that aggravate and trigger an asthma attack are encountered every day by people, but for people with asthma, these are triggers should be avoided as much as possible. Many doctor’s offices post a sign in the waiting room asking patients not to wear perfume and colognes because of their asthmatic patients.
The human immune system is an incredible system and works to protect, defend, and rid the body from illnesses and invading germs. When these toxins and allergens are inhaled, they can trigger an asthma attack. The asthma attack happens when different cells in the airways become inflamed and lined with mucus. The blood vessels also become constricted making it more difficult for the body to absorb and process oxygen in the blood. This kind of reaction is the body’s natural response to protect itself from these invaders.
In addition to the traditional treatments, some doctors suggest that taking vitamins and antioxidants, in addition to the asthma medication, will help strengthen the immune system. Here is a list of some nutritional supplements to take:
- Fish Oil with Omega 3, 6, and 9 – These are healthy fatty acids and are essential in helping the immune system function at an optimal level. Not only are they good for brain function and mental cognition, but they also are anti-inflammatory and will aid in relaxing the airways, thus preventing them from becoming irritated. Fish, especially Salmon, is high in these fatty acids.
- B-Vitamins – B Vitamins are also thought to be anti-inflammatory, this is why they are prescribed if someone breaks, fractures, or sprains a leg or arm. The key B-Vitamins that were particularly helpful in controlling asthma symptoms are B-6 and B-12. B-Vitamins can be found in cereal, fish, poultry, beans, dark fruits and vegetables, eggs, soy milk, and rice milk.
- Antioxidants – This group of vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system. Some of these include Vitamins A, C, E, as well as selenium and beta carotene. Vitamin C is known to reduce a person’s histamine level; therefore, it prevents a reaction. Most antioxidants can be found in fruits and vegetables, in addition to some nuts.
Asthma and the immune system are connected because of how the body responds to the airborne toxins a person is exposed to. The immune system’s job is to maintain good health and defend any foreign substances that are inhaled or ingested. Having a strong immune system is crucial in helping individuals combat their asthma and the triggers they are exposed to.
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