Do these alternative therapies really work?
As a parent managing a child who has asthma or as someone with asthma, you must have heard of the possibilities of a cure for asthma. Usually these tales of miraculous cures are associated with the use of alternative therapies and they are so attractive that people become desperate to try them.
The reason for the desperation is not far-fetched seeing as three persons die every day as a result of asthma and its accompanying complications. Yes, asthma can deteriorate into a life-threatening condition, but it can be managed with proper care and careful management.
Deaths due to asthma are preventable.
Several institutions are constantly researching into and encouraging research on finding a cure for asthma. Asthma UK is a leading force in this regard, and their efforts have been yielding laudable results. However, these results are not likely to be formulated into products useable by patients, at least not in the next few years. Yet, the scourge continues.
While it is true that two out of three asthma deaths can be prevented through improved care, and patients are being educated about this, people still need something more. And, alternative therapies are fast becoming the go-to option for desperate patients.
Some of these natural/alternative therapy options include homeopathy, salt therapies, and herbal medicines.
Why are people attracted to alternative therapies for asthma?
People are inclined to try out alternative therapies for a number of reasons. Due to the nature of asthma and the fact that it can be an incapacitating condition, people want to find solutions that modern medicine has not been able to provide.
For some other persons, they have a strong dislike for medicines probably due to unpleasant tastes and odors, while some have a fear of medicines because of the potential side effects they must have read up on or heard somewhere.
However, asthma medications are carefully selected for you by your GP and you should let them know if you have any concerns about using them.
What are Asthma experts saying?
Asthma experts have reached a conclusion that there is no justifiable evidence that supports recommending alternative therapies to manage asthma. They agree that these supposed “treatment options” are ineffective with good reason.
For most people with asthma, the risk for asthma attacks and their symptoms is closely linked to inflammation of the airways. When the airways are inflamed, the muscles in the lungs twitch more than they usually do in the absence of triggers and this causes release of mucus in the lungs; two events which set off the cascade of events known as the signs of an asthma attack- tightness of the chest, coughing, breathlessness and wheezing.
What is the best treatment for asthma?
The best treatment for inflammation of the airways is the use of inhalational corticosteroids. These steroid medications deliver little quantities of the drug to the site of action (local activity). They rarely have side effects when the inhaler is used correctly.
In order to be properly informed about the medications you are on, we advise that you ask your GP and care providers for further information. It is not advisable to and could be dangerous to your health if you discontinue the use of your medication without the guidance of your asthma nurse or GP. Also, you should not reduce your doses on your own without their guidance.
What can be done in place of these alternative therapies?
Here are some simple tips to help you manage asthma better and prevent unpleasant occurrences.
- Always use your corticosteroid medicines as directed
- Keep a well-written asthma action plan with you at all times. This will help guide you on what to do whenever you have symptoms of an attack
- Do not miss your appointments with your GP or asthma nurse.
- Provide your GP with accurate information always, especially with respect to your condition and response to medications
- Identify and avoid your triggers (smoke, allergens, pollen, weather, etc.)