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Asthma & Emphysema

When You Breathe...
“Raw” air is too cold, dry and dirty for you to use immediately. That’s why you filter, warm, cleanse and humidify air in your nose and nasal cavities before it enters your trachea or “windpipe.” Your trachea is a tube in your throat surrounded by 15 to 20 stiff rings of cartilage so that it never closes (and suffocates you). If you place your fingers under your Adam's apple you can feel the rings. Your trachea separates into the left and right bronchi that enter the lungs, where they divide over and over to form tiny branches called bronchioles where oxygen enters your blood and carbon dioxide and water vapor leave it. The bronchi and bronchioles must remain fully open and clear at all times. That does not happen to those suffering from bronchial asthma.

Asthmatic Attack

During an asthmatic "attack" the bronchioles become swollen, go into spasm and fill with mucus. Asthmatics struggle for every breath, literally gasping and wheezing for life during an attack. In some, the wheezing, gasping and struggling go on continuously and long-time sufferers may develop a barrel chest. Attacks may be triggered by allergic reactions, emotional stress, physical exertion or irritants like cigarette smoke. In the most dangerous form of asthma, status asthmaticus, the attacks last for days and can result in death. Asthma was rarely a fatal disease; medical folk-wisdom held that no child ever died of asthma. Today asthma kills about 5,000 a year.

Bronchitis & Emphysema

In bronchitis there is increased mucus in the trachea and bronchial tubes. It's sometimes called “smoker's cough" because cigarette smoking is the most common cause. Bronchitis is rare in non-smokers but it is sometimes seen among the children of smokers. Emphysema is usually associated with long-term smoking-many bronchioles are blocked and the lung itself is destroyed. With less lung tissue the blood gets less oxygen, causing high blood pressure and heart trouble. People with chronic emphysema can suffer for years from severe “air hunger" (hypoxia) causing lethargy, muscle weakness, impairment of mental function and, in severe cases, a slow death.

The Standard Medical Approach

Medicine offers no cure for asthma, bronchitis or emphysema. Patients are told to avoid physical or emotional irritants and are given temporary relief with cortisone, inhaled corticosteroids or bronchodilators that prevent or reduce swelling inside the bronchi. These drugs may cause severe side effects including addiction. Heavy use of common asthma drugs has been linked to a greater risk of dying from the disease. For example, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received reports of life-threatening respiratory problems and deaths in Serevent users within the first six months of its approval in 1994. A blackbox warning – the strongest type of drug warning - was added to Serevents labels in 2003. Advair (another asthma drug) also was given this label. In December 2008 the FDA recommended that Serevent (and Foradil, another asthma drug) be taken off the market because of increased risk of severe asthmatic episodes and death from use. Advair however remains on the market. Why is asthma now the most common chronic condition in children?? It appears to be due to childhood vaccination. Research is increasingly revealing that asthma is exceedingly rare or nonexistent in non-vaccinated children.

The Chiropractic Approach

For over a hundred years sufferers of all types of respiratory conditions have sung the praises of chiropractic care. A typical case history is that of a six year-old girl with three years of uncontrolled asthma. She was taking a number of prescription drugs to control her symptoms. The patient experienced instant reduction in cough as reported by her mother. In 30 days, no medication was being used. Upon subsequent visits to the pediatrician, the patient also demonstrated a marked increase in lung volume. Another case is that of an 8-year-old diagnosed with asthma at age five who was using Beclovent and Albyterol one to three times per day. After eight chiropractic adjustments over a period of 22 weeks, the child had stopped inhaler use, could run without gasping and was free of asthmatic attacks without medication. A 34-month-old boy with asthma and enuresis (bedwetting) who had not responded to medical care had more than 20 emergency hospital visits for asthma attacks in the past 12 months. Three chiropractic adjustments were administered. At a two-year followup the mother reported no recurrence of asthma or enuresis.

Research Studies

An analysis of 650 children found favorable response to chiropractic care for those suffering from asthma. * In a study of 81 children, 73 showed significant improvement after chiropractic; 25 of them voluntarily decreased their medication by an average of 66.5% and 24 had significantly decreased incidences of attacks by an average of 44.9%. Lung volume has been reported to increase after chiropractic adjustments and one study of 185 men and 87 women showed improved respiratory function after spinal care.ll In another study of patients with chronic pulmonary disease, a classification that includes those with bronchitis and emphysema, over 90% reported improvement of symptoms after spinal care. !Researchers have found spinal care superior to conventional medical bronchodilators, expectorants and corticosteroids.

In Conclusion

Anyone with asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or other chronic lung conditions needs to ensure their lungs and bronchi are receiving uninterrupted nerve communication from their spines. Chiropractic is a healing art dedicated to keeping the nerve passages in the body open and unobstructed. This will help the entire body, including the lungs, bronchi and other structures of the respiratory system, heal and function at its best. Anyone with a chronic lung condition needs to ensure their lungs and bronchi are receiving uninterrupted nerve communication. w It's never too early to make sure your respiratory system is functioning at its best.

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