Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways. The airways are the tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. In asthma, the inside walls of the airways are inflamed (swollen). The inflammation makes the airways very sensitive, and they tend to react strongly to things that one is allergic to or find irritating. When the airways react, they get narrower, and less air flows through to the lung tissue.
Common symptoms of an asthmatic episode include:
- Coughing. Coughing from asthma is often worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep.
- Wheezing. Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe.
- Chest tightness. This can feel like something is squeezing or sitting on your chest.
- Shortness of breath. Some people say they can’t catch their breath, or they feel breathless or out of breath. You may feel like you can’t get enough air in or out of your lungs.
- Faster breathing or noisy breathing.
Common Signs of an asthmatic episode include:
- Rapid breathing (tachypnea)
- Prolonged expiration.
- A rapid heart rate (tachycardia)
- lung sounds (audible through a stethoscope),
- Over-inflation of the chest.
During a serious attack:
The accessory of respiration (sternocleidomastoid and scalene muscles of the neck) may be used, shown as in-drawing of tissues between the ribs and above the sternum and clavicles, and the presence of a paradoxical pulse (a pulse that is weaker during inhalation and stronger during exhalation).
During very severe attack:
An asthma sufferer can turn blue from lack of oxygen, and can experience chest pain or even loss of consciousness. Just before loss of consciousness, there is a chance that the patient will feel numbness in the limbs and palms may start to sweat. Feet may become icy cold.
Despite the severity of symptoms during an asthmatic episode, between attacks an asthmatic may show few signs of the disease.
Severe asthma attacks, which may not be responsive to standard treatments (status asthmaticus), are life-threatening and may lead to respiratory arrest and death.
There are lots of medicines in homeopathy for asthma. Some of the common medicines are: ars-alb, ipecac, lachesis, pulsatilla, spongia, sulphur, ignatia, antim-tart, hepar-sulph, nat-sulph, tuberculinum etc. The selection of medicine varies from patient to patient.
1. Arsenic Album [Ars alb]
Ars-alb is one of the most important remedies for asthma. Air-passages are constricted. Asthma is worse in midnight. Burning in chest. Suffocative feeling in the chest. Cough worse after midnight; worse lying on back. Expectoration is scanty, frothy. Darting pain through upper third of right lung. Wheezing sound from chest during respiration. Hæmoptysis with pain between shoulders; burning heat all over. Cough dry, as from sulphur fumes; after drinking. Unable to lie down; fears suffocation. Great exhaustion after the slightest exertion is the key note indication.
2. Ipecacnuha [Ipecac]
Ipecac has dyspn?a with constriction in chest. Asthma with yearly attacks of difficult shortness of breathing. Continued sneezing; coryza and wheezing cough. Cough incessant and violent, with every breath. Chest seems full of phlegm, but does not yield to coughing. Bubbling rales. Suffocative cough; child becomes stiff, and blue in the face. Whooping-cough, with nosebleed, and from mouth. Bleeding from lungs, with nausea; feeling of constriction; rattling cough. Hæmoptysis from slightest exertion Hoarseness of voice.
3. Lachesis [Lach]
There is sensation of suffocation and strangulation on lying down, particularly when anything is around throat; which compels patient to spring from bed and rush for open window. This is the key note indication of this remedy. Feels he must take a deep breath. Cough; dry, suffocative fits, tickling. Little secretion and much sensitiveness; worse, pressure on larynx, after sleep, open air. Breathing almost stops on falling asleep Sensation as of a plug which moves up and down, with a short cough. Upper part of windpipe very susceptible to touch
4. Spongia tosta [Spongia]
Great dryness of all air-passages along with Cough, dry, barking, croupy; larynx sensitive to touch is the keynote indication of the remedy. Respiration is short, panting, and difficult; feeling of a plug in larynx. Cough abates after eating or drinking, especially warm drinks. The dry, chronic sympathetic cough or organic heart disease is relieved by Spongia (Naja). Irrepressible cough from a spot deep in chest, as if raw and sore. Chest weak; can scarcely talk. Bronchial catarrh, with wheezing, asthmatic cough, worse cold air, with profuse expectoration and suffocation; worse, lying with head low and in hot room. Oppression and heat of chest, with sudden weakness.
5. Antimonium Tartaricum [Ant tart]
Great rattling of mucus in the chest but very little is expectorated. Burning sensation in chest, which ascends to throat. Rapid, short, difficult breathing; seems as if he would suffocate; must sit up. Coughing and gaping consecutively. Bronchial tubes overloaded with mucus. Cough excited by eating, with pain in chest and larynx. Much palpitation, with uncomfortable hot feeling. Pulse rapid, weak, trembling. Dizziness, with cough. Dyspn?a relieved by eructation. Cough and dyspn?a better lying on right side.
6. Natrum Sulphuricum [Nat sulph]
Nat sulph has dyspn?a during damp weather which is one of the most important key note indications. Patient must hold chest when coughing. Humid asthma; rattling in chest, at 4 and 5 am. Cough is with thick ropy, greenish expectoration. Constant desire to take deep, long breath. Asthma in children, as a constitutional remedy. Delayed resolution in pneumonia. Springs up in bed the cough hurts so; holds painful side. Pain through lower left chest. Every fresh cold brings on attack of asthma.
7. Lobelia Inflata [Lob]
Dyspnoea from constriction of chest; worse, any exertion. Sensation of pressure or weight in chest; better by rapid walking. Feels as if heart would stop. Asthma; attacks, with weakness. Shortness of breath.
8. Pulsatilla [Puls]
Dry cough in evening and at night; must sit up in bed to get relief; and loose cough in the morning, with copious mucous expectoration. Pressure upon the chest and soreness. Pain as from ulcer in middle of chest. Expectoration bland, thick, bitter, greenish. Short breath, anxiety, and palpitation when lying on left side. Smothering sensation on lying down. Asthma aggravated in evenings and better in open air.
9. Sulphur [Sulph]
Difficult respiration and always wants windows open. Sensation of heat throughout chest. Loose cough; worse talking, morning, greenish, purulent, sweetish expectoration. Much rattling of mucus. Chest feels heavy; stitches, with heart feeling too large and palpitating pleuritic exudations. Asthma is worse lying on back or breathing deeply. Oppression, as of a load on chest. Dyspn?a in middle of night, relieved by sitting up. Pulse more rapid in morning than in evening.
10. Ignatia Amara [Ign]Dry, spasmodic cough in quick successive shocks. Reflex coughs. Coughing increases the desire to cough. Much sighing. Hollow spasmodic cough, worse in the evening, little expectoration, leaving pain in trachea. Asthma from slightest mental emotion or grief is the keynote symptom of the remedy.