Asthma is a chronic condition affecting the lungs and respiratory system. Asthma is not contagious, and although it appears to follow some genetic tendencies, is not wholly genetic either. Asthma is a complex disease characterized by bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR), inflammation, Mucus production and intermittent airway obstruction. A person with asthma may experience wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough particularly after exposure to an allergen, during exercise, when exposed to cold air, or at times of greater emotional. Beyond the traditional use of inhalers, there are many holistic options available for treatment.
The main symptom of asthma is wheezing caused by obstruction and constriction of the airways. A cough, sometimes with clear sputum, may also be present. Typically the symptoms change from person to person, often with rapid onset, and associated with the individuals set of trigger stimuli. Once again, these triggers often being:
- exposure to allergen
- exercise - termed "exercise induced asthma"
- exposure to cold air
- emotional stress - especially
- general stress
In severe cases, symptoms can be worse during the night or upon waking. Asthma sometimes occurs with acid indigestion, especially amongst older patients. Signs of asthma are wheezing, rapid breathing, expiratory phase of breathing longer than inspiratory, in-drawing of tissues between ribs and above sternum & clavicles, over-inflation of the chest and rhonchi (wheezy noises heard with a stethoscope). In severe attacks the asthma sufferer may become blue in color (associated with a lack of oxygen), may have chest pain and can lose consciousness. Between attacks a person with asthma may show no signs at all.
Asthma symptoms - an alternative view
Chinese Medicine breaks down asthma into two main categories with several sub categories. We fill first look at symptoms associated with an acute onset attack. This being category one. Next we will look at the symptoms associated with non-acute, chronic body types associated with asthmatic tendencies.
Acute asthma attack symptoms according to Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Attack of Wind Cold (without sweating)
Sudden wheezing and breathlessness with difficulty in breathing out, no sweating, tightness of the chest, pale face, feeling cold, sneezing, cough, no thirst, attack elicited by cold weather, stiffness of the shoulders and neck
Attack of Wind Cold (with sweating)
Slight sweating, asthma attack with breathlessness and wheezing, less noisy than previous case, not so much chilliness, a feeling of tightness of the chest, pale face.
Attack of Wind Heat
Fever and aversion to cold (if true exterior invasion, otherwise feeling of heat), headache, tightness of the chest, loud wheezing, barking cough, asthma, mental restlessness, slight thirst.
Chronic asthma symptoms according to Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Non-Acute "Lung Qi Deficiency"
Sweating, pale face, weak voice, prone to catching colds, sneezing, runny nose, shortness of breath, attacks of asthma elicited by pollen or dust, allergic rhinitis.
"Lung Qi" and "Lung Yin Deficiency"
Attacks of asthma at night, tightness of the chest, wheezing, dry cough, dry throat, weak voice, night-sweating, tiredness, prone to catching colds, pale face, palpitations.
"Lung Qi" and "Kidney Yang Deficiency"
Asthma attacks worse at night, tightness of the chest, chilliness, edema of the face, tiredness, back-ache, depression, husky voice.
"Lung Qi" and "Kidney Yang Deficiency" II
Daytime sweating, infrequent attacks of asthma, chilliness, back-ache, frequent-pale urination.
"Lung-Yin" and "stomach Yin" deficiency with dryness and some Empty-Heat
Mild attacks of asthma at night, dry cough, dry throat, breathlessness on exertion, slight night sweating.
"Lung-Yin" deficiency, no dryness and no "empty-heat."
Same as above but with fewer symptoms of dryness
Lung and Kidney "Yin" deficiency
Chronic asthma with infrequent attacks which usually occur at night, wheezing, breathlessness on exertion, dry throat, night sweating, back ache, tinnitus, dry cough, hot hands and feet.
Liver Qi stagnation insulting the lungs
Asthma attacks elicited by emotional stress, a feeling of oppression and distension of the chest and hypochondrium.
Liver Fire insulting the lungs
Loud wheezing, attacks of asthma elicited by emotional strain, irritability, propensity to outbursts of anger, hypochondrial and chest fullness and distension, bitter taste in mouth, thirst.
Liver Yin Deficiency
Infrequent asthma attacks at night, dry throat, dry cough, blurred vision, dry eyes, hypochondriac and chest distention.
Posted by Staff at July 14, 2005 4:46 PMblog comments powered by Disqus
can you tell me more about swelling in the chest as a symptom or result of asthma and what can be done about it. I am a 35 year-old female whose asthma has resurfaced after moving to the mountains and I have extreme swelling from under my breasts to my belly-button, like I"m pregnant but I am not.
Posted by: Rachel at March 16, 2006 12:58 PM