The rates of asthma continue to rise and the reasons why are a mystery to much of the conventional medical community, as an Overland Park, KS functional medicine specialist can attest. Everyone understands asthma as an inflammatory reaction, but why some people develop asthma and others do not, or why the rates are increasing is an ongoing conversation. Some studies have questioned if the hygiene hypothesis (not enough germs) contributes to increased asthma. This has generally been disproven for asthma, but not for allergies. Some studies show respiratory infections in early childhood may increase the risk for asthma, but at the end of the day, most agree that asthma is more complex than the conventional medical community has given it credit. Asthma affects 8.4% or 25 million Americans and the question remains, why? If this can be answered than it can be prevented, treated and potentially reversed for more people in the future.
What the conventional medical model does not realize is that the functional medicine community of practitioners has many solutions for asthma through determining the root cause of the inflammatory trigger. When this trigger is removed, balanced, or minimized, asthma can then improve. There can be many different triggers for asthma that are largely overlooked by standard care. These are some of the potential inflammation triggers that can result in asthma:
- Increased environmental toxins
- Increased pollution
- Food sensitivities
- Gut problems
- Food additives and dyes
- Foods with altered protein structures
- Mold exposure
- C-section birth
- Gluten sensitivity or celiac disease
- Chronic use of antibiotics
- Histamine intolerance
- Chronic infections
These are many of the same inflammatory triggers that can cause many other illnesses and turn into autoimmune diseases. While one person may experience chronic fatigue, another may suffer from migraines, yet another a skin issue, while someone else experiences asthma. We like to say that inflammation is nondiscriminatory. It will affect any system in any person when the balancing mechanisms for inflammation become overloaded. When a health issue arises, a path of investigation must be taken to uncover what is causing the inflammation. When this is pinpointed, a path of decreasing inflammation can begin.
Decreasing inflammation to support asthma relief often includes supplements such as fish oil, probiotics, zinc, and herbal or homeopathic support for issues related to high histamine levels, chronic infections, and/or mold. Eliminating trigger foods and eating nutrient dense, low inflammatory foods are also part of the whole inflammation picture. For those suffering from asthma, be encouraged there are answers, solutions, and a way forward. You are not destined for a life of medications and rescue inhalers, but real solutions that last do require working with a functional medicine practitioners who is trained in finding the root cause of inflammatory triggers.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from LifeWorks Integrative Health for their insight into asthma.