Asthma Symptoms & Treatment

Often allergy to dust mites, moulds pollens, animals or foods.

Boy using inhaler for asthma

 

Many people and children with asthma have a simple allergy to dust, house dust mites, pets or moulds. With allergy testing it is possible to identify specific triggers.

Asthma, Mites, Pets & Homes

House dust mites thrive in a warm, humid environment such as modern, well insulated, centrally heated homes; their main habitat is bed mattresses, carpets and soft furnishings. We know that they die in very low or very high temperatures and where the humidity is low. Cooler, well ventilated homes discourage inhalant allergies. Some patients have made the observation that their asthma, previously thought to be a permanent or irreversible problem, actually clears within 48 hrs of arriving in any Mediterranean country or high in the mountains, where humidity is low, only to relapse on their return to the UK. This confirms that asthma can partly or totally be reversed if we could effectively control the quality of the air we breathe.

Asthma & Diet

Contrary to popular belief, asthma is not always caused by allergens in the air.  Some patients find that their symptoms get worse after eating certain foods or additives and get better when they leave them out of their diet for 1-2 weeks.  On the basis of this observation, we can define, by a dietary test known as Elimination and Challenge, which specific foods are responsible for one's breathing problems.  This kind of allergy is very different to peanut allergy, which is fast and potentially life threatening.  It is called Type-B, delayed or masked allergy and is a common cause of breathing problems, characterised by congestion and/or mucous production from the sinuses, nose, throat or the bronchial tree.  Dairy products are top of the list for causing mucous secretions, mainly cow's milk protein, casein and lactalbumin, not lactose.  Nasal polyps are frequently caused by inhalant allergy combined with food intolerance.

Asthma Treatment

At Allergy Medical UK we recommend skin prick tests or blood tests to identify the culprits if inhalant allergies are suspected.  If food intolerance is likely to be the cause, a Diagnostic Eating Plan is implemented for two weeks to see an improvement or clearance of the symptoms then there is a re-introduction phase to identify which foods are the problem.  Alternatively, intra-dermal tests can be used.

Once the cause has been identified, i.e. inhalant allergies we can treat this with a form of desensitisation, Enzyme Potentiated Desensitisation.  If foods are the issue and there are too many to leave a balanced or workable diet, we also offer another form of desensitisation called Neutralisation.

 

Clinical Trials re: Bronchial Asthma

The following is a sample of papers to give a flavour of some of the evidence to support the view that allergy, environmental medicine and nutritional medicine has a major role to play in the modern medical practice.

Children with Allergic Rhinitis and/or Bronchial Asthma treated with Elimination Diet. Ogle K., Annals of Allergy 1980 May: 44; pp273-8
91% of 322 children showed significant improvement in trial  Link to article

Food Sensitivity and Asthma.  Wraith D.G., Brostoff, and Challacombe. Food Allergy and Intolerance, London Bailliere, Tindall 1987; pp486-97
Study of 265 patients on avoidance of incriminated foods led to a huge reduction in the use of inhalers and steroids

Asthma Induced by Sulphur Dioxide, Benzoate and Tartrazine contained in Orange Drinks.  Freedman B.J., Kings College Hospital, Clin. Allergy 1997: 7; pp407-415
18% of 272 patients with asthma reacted to one or more of the constituents of orange drinks

How can we help you?

Identifying the root cause.

Skin prick tests and blood tests for allergy antibodies can accurately confirm inhalant allergens.  If we suspect food intolerance we advise you to follow a simple elimination process.  There is a good choice of safer foods to eat these days without getting hungry.
If this is not practical because of personal circumstances, we use intra-dermal tests or a combination of blood tests, to identify the culprit foods or food constituents.
The good thing about Type-B allergy is that, following avoidance of some high risk foods for a few weeks, the tolerance of the individual improves and the same items can be used again sparingly, without the same ill effects.

  • We use accurate tests for inhalants allergens such as mites or animals
  • Tests for foods causing intolerance
  • Tests for nutritional deficiencies.
  • Guidance on how best to purify the home environment
  • Work out with you a diet of safer foods if intolerance is a cause
  • Recommend the most appropriate method of desensitisation to improve your natural resistance.

Specialist tips and notes

  • Environmental controls: There is evidence that small changes in the domestic environment can make a significant difference: an air-filter in the bedroom, an anti-mite mattress cover, thoroughly ventilated bedrooms, bare floors and a vacuum cleaner with an efficient air-filter. The benefits are best noticed in children, whose allergies are more simple; adults often have more serious problems, which require specific preventative treatment such as desensitisation.
  • Preventative measures: Families with a history of allergies should seriously consider implementing simple air-purification measures as a prevention, not wait to see if any of the children first develops any of these conditions.
  • Desensitisation: It is possible to improve one's immunity for house dust mites or pets, if avoidance is too difficult. See how it works in section under Treatments.
  • Effectiveness: Clinical studies show that a high percentage of people treated with desensitisation, are able to reduce or discontinue their usual anti-asthma medications.

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