The process of respiration is one of the most basic processes in the human body. Oxygen is needed for the process of metabolism which produces energy in the body. The body absorbs oxygen from air that is breathed into the lungs. Waste in the form of carbon dioxide is released from the blood into the air and is replaced with oxygen that is absorbed from the air. This process takes place continuously. The importance of this process is underlined by the fact that an individual cannot hold his or her breath for more than a few seconds without feeling uncomfortable.
In the process of breathing, air enters the nasal or oral passages, depending on how the individual inhales at the time. Air then goes through the throat, into the wind pipe, which is located at the front of the throat. Passing by the vocal chords, the air enters the lungs. There are small sac-like structures in the lungs. These structures fill with air when inhalation occurs. These structures evacuate air when exhalation occurs.
Wheezing occurs when the individual is unable to breathe properly. Although air is passing into the lungs and is exhaled out of the lungs, the process is not taking place efficiently. This happens when there is some constriction in the passage through which air flows into and out of the lungs. Wheezing can be particularly uncomfortable for the individual. Your body exerts a certain amount of force to inhale. The body will therefore need to exert even more force to ensure that inhalation takes place if there is any obstruction to the process. This action will tire the individual, particularly as he or she is not receiving adequate supplies of oxygen.
Symptoms of Wheezing
As explained above, wheezing results in an ineffective intake of air. An individual will therefore suffer from symptoms of breathlessness when he or she is wheezing. Other symptoms of wheezing include a feeling of giddiness and a lack of energy. The reason for giddiness being experienced by the individual is again related to a lack of oxygen being absorbed. This symptom occurs more commonly in people who suffer from a severe attack of wheezing rather than those who suffer from slightly diminished breathing. An individual who is wheezing may experience some pain in the chest. This happens because the muscles that control the process of breathing may be stressed out. This may also occur as a result of the lungs being stretched by the muscles. Apart from these symptoms, a general feeling of unrest will affect the individual.
Causes of Wheezing
There are a number of different medical conditions that can cause wheezing. The most common and most obvious condition that causes wheezing is asthma. Asthma is a condition where the bodys immune system reacts abnormally to the presence of some foreign object or substance in the airways. This trigger is referred to as an allergen and would usually be some form of dust, pollen or dander. The individuals immune system then attacks the airways causing a sudden inflammation. Asthma patients will not be able to survive if they do not have emergency medical equipment with them at the time they experience an asthma attack. An emergency spray will be used to calm the airways, reducing inflammation and allowing them to open up, allowing breathing to take place more effectively.
Apart from asthma, there are a number of conditions that can affect the breathing processes. Bronchitis is a common condition that affects the respiratory system. Bronchitis may be chronic in young children but most people tend to outgrow the problem. Very often, bronchitis may occur as a result of some infection that has been picked up by the individual. There are many other respiratory conditions that can also cause wheezing.
In some cases, wheezing occurs as a result of some foreign object being lodged in the airways. This is a relatively rare situation, but not one that is impossible. When an object enters the airways it restricts the flow of air. The amount by which this restriction occurs depends on the size and shape of the object. It also depends on what position this object takes when it gets lodged in the airways.
People who smoke may suffer from wheezing problems. Smoking involves the ingestion of smoke which, over time, will damage the lungs and airways. This damage is gradual but progressive. Over time, the individual will suffer from lower and lower lung capacity as the elasticity and efficiency of the lung tissue will reduce. Smoking is also the leading cause of lung cancer, a condition where tumors begin to develop in the lungs. Throat cancer and lung cancer can also be regarded as possible causes of wheezing as both these conditions have the ability to reduce an individuals breathing capability.
Remedies for Wheezing
In order to deal with the condition of wheezing, it is important to first understand the underlying cause. For patients suffering from asthma, the immediate remedy involves the admission of an anti-inflammatory spray into the airways. This will neutralize the allergic reaction that is occurring. Once this happens, there will be a gradual reduction in the inflammation that affects the airways. This will lead to a resumption of normal breathing, usually within a few minutes. Asthma attacks can be quite unnerving for an individual. In most cases, the attack can be anticipated by the individual giving him or her enough time to administer the anti inflammatory spray. The next and most logical step would be to eliminate or minimize exposure to any known allergen that could trigger or aggravate an attack.
For bronchitis and related illnesses, treatment is solely prescribed by a doctor. A visit to a doctor is essential when one is wheezing without any known cause. The doctor can perform a number of different tests to understand what medical condition is affecting the patient. Subsequently, the required course of treatment will be prescribed by the doctor. Bronchitis may require the patient to undergo extensive treatment over a long period of time.
There are some effective alternative therapies for wheezing. When one is going through a phase of normal breathing, it may be recommended to try some breathing exercises. Breathing exercises will help to improve breathing capacity and strengthen the lungs. While this may not cure the problem, it will reduce the effect of wheezing as the individual will have stronger lungs capable of dealing with the restrictions in airflow. Yoga provides many different breathing exercises that can be used to improve lung power. Another way of achieving this is by attempting exercise. Exercise involves pushing ones body to the point where it needs to work hard. This also applies to the respiratory system which needs to work hard in order to keep up with the demands of the body. Over time, this will lead to a strengthening of the muscles involved in the breathing process. It will also result in improved blood circulation, which will help to repair any damaged tissue more effectively. Overall, this will lead to improved breathing, which should help to reduce the severity of any wheezing problems.
Diet for Wheezing
As such there is no diet that can cure wheezing or prevent the condition from occurring. However, recent studies have shown that individuals who follow a healthy, balanced diet are less likely to suffer from severe cases of wheezing or breathlessness. The logic behind such results is the fact that the individuals body will be running efficiently when it is well nourished. While this does not directly affect wheezing, it will most definitely improve the ability of the body to withstand physically stressful situations. An improved diet has been proven to positively affect patients who suffer from asthma. Stress is one of the triggers of asthma. An improved diet will reduce a persons stress as his or her body will function more efficiently during times of pressure. This is often all that is needed to cure an individual of asthma.
Studies have also found that new born babies tend to suffer from fewer cases of asthma, wheezing and bronchitis when they are fed with their mothers milk. The reason behind this is related to improved nutrition as well as improved immunity. Studies have shown that the immunity of babies brought up on their mothers milk tends to be efficient lot higher as compared to the immunity in babies brought up on bottled milk. This is something parents are informed about as it can help avert various health care issues that could otherwise plague a newborn baby.
Suggestions for Wheezing
For people who suffer from temporary periods of wheezing, it is important to try and relax. The initial instinctive response of the body is to tense up as it is in a stressful situation. This reaction however will worsen the condition. Patients must therefore try to relax themselves as much as they can. This can actually reduce the severity of their breathing problem. In this regard, taking up meditative or relaxing practices like yoga or swimming could help significantly. Yoga is particularly useful as it not only helps empower the individual with better control over reactions, but it also includes the practice of strengthening breathing exercises. For those who suffer from chronic wheezing, it is important to visit a doctor. Chronic wheezing is a sign of some condition that is not improving. Therefore, patients must do what they can to ensure that their condition is properly diagnosed and monitored so that it can be treated effectively. Failure to do so can cause permanent damage to various body systems, particularly if the patient suffers from severe wheezing which restricts the intake of oxygen into his or her body.