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Can Asthma be Cured? with Dr. Richard Firshein

Curing the symptoms of asthma 

Asthma can’t be cured in the literal sense, but patients can be virtually cured of its symptoms through the use of medications and certain natural or alternative approaches. It is becoming increasingly clear that there many types of asthma and they differ greatly in their presentation and genesis. For example, asthma that presents itself as a chronic cough, the "cough variant of asthma," appears to be very different from the life-threatening variety, which results in extreme respiratory failure and sometimes death. The greatest advances in controlling asthma may be the change in physicians' attitudes toward using preventive medications, as well as attempts to make home rescue plans more aggressive and self-sufficient.

Asthma medications

The availability of selective and potent medications has made such changes possible. Another paramount advance in managing asthma has been the early and aggressive use of symptom relief medications, including Beta-2 receptor stimulants and short courses of oral steroids, as a part of the home rescue therapy. This form of therapy has the additional advantage of making patients and caregivers self-sufficient and confident in handling an acute episode of asthma. This type of self-sufficiency is essential in the successful control of any chronic illness.

Findings from research 

Scientists knew that asthma was caused by inflammation in the small tubes which carry air in and out of the lungs, but did not know what was triggering it. However, experiments on mice and human airway tissue found that calcium sensing receptor cells - which detect changes in the environment - go into overdrive in asthmatics, triggering airway twitching, inflammation, and narrowing. But when calcilytic drugs are inhaled, cells deactivate and symptoms stop. The discovery could also pave the way for new treatments for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic bronchitis, for which currently no cure exists. It is predicted that by 2020, these diseases will be the third biggest killers worldwide. This research was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Treating asthma 

Through the use of breathing exercises, dietary controls and the proper use of medications, asthma can be put into a place where it’s almost under complete control and people can live normal, healthy lives. Proper and effective treatment can allow an asthmatic to live without worrying, stressing or even thinking much about their condition. Additionally, in a world of imperfect medical treatments, some people with asthma (as with many other chronic illnesses) turn to "alternative" therapies, especially ones not involving medications. It is often appealing for people to treat and manage their asthma with non-traditional approaches rather than putting man-made chemicals into their bodies. These unconventional treatments offer an approach that feels more wholesome, using substances or forces found in the natural world and therefore seem safer to some people. Such approaches to asthma care include using:

  • Vitamins
  • Natural herbal treatments
  • Homeopathy
  • Special diets
  • Exercise programs
  • Acupuncture

While there is no tangible cure to asthma, many children are able to outgrow it. That is another reason to make sure your children are cared for, have reduced exposure to allergens and eat properly. These are some of the main factors that can certainly influence the decrease of asthma symptoms. In summary, the therapeutic and attitudinal advances in managing asthma have been very substantial in the past 15 to 20 years, resulting in more effective and safer ways of controlling it. Although a cure is not on the horizon, nearly complete control is well within reach.