Asthma, Sinusitis and Eczema – How Are They Related?
The lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. The lungs, along with the bronchi, larynx (voice box), and trachea (windpipe) make up the lower respiratory system. The upper consists of the nasal cavities and throat.
The bronchi divide into smaller and smaller branches until they reach the alveoli. These are clusters of tiny air sacs which provide easy passage of gases into and out of the lungs and blood. The 300 million alveoli increase the inner surface area of the lungs to about 35 times larger than the surface area of your skin or about 60 square meters. The lungs, sinus cavity and digestive tract is our first line of defense has it is the only internal organ area that is actually exposed to the outside world. This is why it is so important to have healthy and abundant flora.
The large surface area of the lungs enables them to effectively absorb oxygen from the environment and deliver it to the cells. At the cellular level oxygen is received and taken into the cell. It is used in the breakdown of nutrients and the release of energy. Carbon dioxide is the waste product of cellular respiration that must be transported through the blood to the lungs for elimination. The respiratory system relies on the circulatory system for transport of both oxygen and carbon dioxide.
The lungs react to irritants with inflammation, swelling, mucus production, and coughing.
Apnea: temporary cessation of breathing.
Dyspnea: difficult or labored breathing.
Cyanosis: bluish color to the skin from lack of oxygen in the blood.
Hypoxia: lower than normal oxygen level in the tissues
During an asthma attack the bronchial tubes leading to the lungs constrict, reducing the flow of air into and out of the lungs. Symptoms may include wheezing, coughing, labored breathing and tightness in the chest. A severe attack can be life-threatening. Asthma attacks may be triggered by stress, anxiety, exercise, infections, changes in temperature, or exposure to allergens such as dust, animal dander, pollens, mold, smoke or food additives.
Leukotrienes are powerful chemical messengers that play a major role in inflammation and allergy reactions. Asthmatics have a tendency to form higher levels of leukotrienes which may be further aggravated by salicylates in food, aspirin, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Typical food intolerances included dairy, soy, sugar eggs, nuts and shellfish.
There is a link between asthma and eczema. When eczema has been suppressed with cortisone creams it will affect the lungs, as the eczema is pushed further inside. Always ask your clients if they had eczema as a child and were they treated with cortisone creams. Another causative factor may be an overgrowth of the common yeast Candida albicans in the gastrointestinal tract. Asthma sufferers tend not to produce sufficient hydrochloride acid (HCl) and pancreatic enzymes. The resulting decreased digestion causes a toxic load for the liver and immune system. Asthma is a severe adrenal issue; you must restore the adrenal cortex back to normal function.
Although an allergy reaction can take place anywhere in the body, common sites of allergy reactions are in the mucus membranes of the ears, eyes, nose, throat, brain and the gut. Allergic rhinitis and hay fever all produce symptoms of runny, itchy nose, sneezing, and watery eyes. For more information, also read our blog about foods that help fight allergies.
Respiratory allergy symptoms are due to the body’s inability to normalize the immune response to non-harmful substances and therefore the immune system overreacts to substances such as pollens, dust, mold, animal dander, perfumes, smoke, household chemicals and even food. Chronic allergies weaken an already overburdened immune system leading to chronic fatigue, headaches, infections, and many other health problems.
This is mainly due to the liver’s inability to clean blood effectively. The immune system including the gut is immature or imbalanced and there is adrenal insufficiency.
It is important to identify and remove as many stressors on the immune system as possible. This can start with improving digestion, assimilation and elimination, as undigested proteins can provoke allergic reactions such as wheezing. Avoid chemicals in the water, food and home, supporting the liver (the body’s main filter organ), reducing stress and getting adequate sleep. By reducing the load on the immune system, that we can control, we can help the immune system to recover so it will be able to handle the stresses we cannot control. Above all rebuild the gut flora!
Sinusitis is an infection of the mucus membranes of the sinus cavities. It is usually caused by a virus or bacteria and often follows a head cold and the use of antibiotics. Allergy reactions that affect the nasal passages can result in sinus infections. Postnasal drip may be a sign of a chronic infection. Chronic sinusitis may be an underlying factor in asthma. Chronic disbyosis and candidiasis is usually the underlying factor of chronic sinusitis.
The following is a partial list of common drugs that can cause or aggravate asthma: Dramamine, Valium, Prozac, Luvox, Paxil, over-the-counter sleeping pills (Nytol, Sleep-eze, Tylenol PM), aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), Tricyclic antidepressants, anti-Parkinson’s drugs, Sulfonamideantibiotics, some drugs used to treat various cardiovascular diseases.
Asthma is usually treated with bronchial dilators (to relax the bronchial passages and make breathing easier), antihistamines (to reduce allergic reactions), and anti-inflammatories (to reduce swelling and inflammation). Expectorants, decongestants, and cough suppressants are other drugs used to treat allergies, cough and cold symptoms. These drugs reduce symptoms and can even save lives. However, they do nothing to address the underlying causes. They can also cause numerous serious side effects.
Overuse of bronchial dilator inhalers can decrease the body’s ability to respond to them. The list of side effects is long, including nervousness, mood swings, aggressive behavior, and fatigue, upper and lower respiratory tract infection, sinus problems, increased blood pressure and heartbeat irregularities.
Epinephrine drugs can cause rupture of blood vessels in the brain and heart and contribute to irregular heartbeat. They can also exhaust the adrenals. Epinephrine drugs can interact with foods high in tyramine and cause serious side effects.
Corticosteroid inhalers are given to reduce inflammation in asthma. Side effects include open-angle glaucoma, yeast infections in the throat, loss of bone mass with long term use, weight gain, water retention and high blood pressure. They also cause increased excretion of vital minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. The body’s need for vitamins B6, C and D are increased.
Orthomolecular Nutritional Consulting can greatly improve and relieve many lung conditions by addressing the underlying issues. Always look at all the possible triggers and support the liver and adrenal glands.