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Is managing asthma an issue for you or someone you love?

Most of us know someone who suffers from asthma.  It can affect people of all ages and a whopping one in ten people in Australia experience symptoms of it.  That’s over two million people.  And, unfortunately, asthma in young children is one of the most common causes of hospital admission and visits to the doctor in this age group.  The beginning of September each year sees National Asthma Week.

So what exactly is asthma, and what triggers it?

Asthma is a condition of the airways. People with asthma have sensitive airways in their lungs which react to triggers that set off their asthma. This makes it harder for them to breathe.

Three main factors cause the airways to narrow:

  • The inside lining of the airways becomes red and swollen (inflammation)
  • Extra mucus (sticky fluid) may be produced, which can block up airways
  • Muscles around the airways squeeze tight. This is called ‘bronchoconstriction’

Many different things can trigger asthma – for some people it’s allergens, for others it’s a food sensitivity, chemicals, exercise, environmental factors or so on.  The Asthma Australia website has loads of helpful information – to read more, please click here.Dr. Dianne Milas osteopath believes that improper breathing, which can be related to stress, can affect our general health, our posture and of course can have a greater impact on those experiencing symptoms of asthma.  Dr. Milas has over 20 years experience as an osteopath and she has a special interest (and lots of experience!) in treating children.  Dr. Milas would like to share with us some tips on how to be more aware of breathing correctly in order to reduce stress, correct our posture and have an impact on the symptoms of asthma:1) Set a target to remind yourself to check how you are breathing at different intervals during the day.2) Start by relaxing your shoulders (by allowing your shoulders to drop, instead of being up near your ears), your jaw (don’t clench) and your buttocks (don’t clench!!).  Stand with your feet shoulder distance apart and visualize that a string is attached to the top of your head and is being pulled upwards.  This gives you a good stance and correct posture. An upright stance gives a deeper breath where the diaphragm (a large dome shaped muscle at the bottom of the ribcage) gets more space to work.3) Breathe in and out through your nose, rhythmically, focusing on a longer exhalation (3-4 seconds) than inhalation (2-3 seconds). This makes the diaphragm more relaxed and makes the inhalation deeper and rhythmical.4) Place both your hands, fingertips facing towards the centre, over your stomach. Your palms should be sitting over your lower ribcage.• Breathe in and feel your abdomen expand forwards. Also feel your lower ribcage expand outwards and upwards.• As you breathe out, feel your abdomen deflate and lower ribs move inwards and down.If your abdomen is expanding with each breath in, then you know that you are filling your lungs up right down to the diaphragm.Instead of a recipe this week we would like to share with you a list of things contained in everyday foods that Asthma Australia suggests should be avoided or limited as they potentially cause or exacerbate symptoms of asthma in some individuals:

  • sulphites (common food and drug preservatives; additive numbers 220-228)
  • tartrazine (yellow dye)
  • benzoates (preservatives added to food to extend shelf life)
  • monosodium glutamate (known as MSG) and
  • salicyates (a chemical which naturally occurs in many plant based foods)

Like to know which foods are actually healing when it comes to asthma so that you can include them in your daily diet?  Please click here.And of course in addition to Dr. Milas (osteopath) we have many other practitioners at the clinic who can help you or your loved ones manage your symptoms and issues arising from asthma.  Traditional Chinese Medicine, naturopathy, diet and osteopathy can all play a part.  So don’t hesitate to give us a call on 9437 9555 or visit our website (click here).If you are looking for a Greek speaking Osteopath, Dr Dianne Milas is fluent in speaking Greek.Have a wonderful week ahead.  And don’t forget to please share this communication with others if you think it will enhance their health!  And we’d also love to hear your tips on managing asthma – what has worked for you?  Please share!