Re-visioning Asthma

posted in: Stress & Anxiety | 0

In asthma there is both narrowing and inflammation of the lung bronchioles. The cortisol-type inhalers (‘preventers’) bring down the inflammation and the adrenaline-type inhalers (‘relievers’) promote widening of the airways. Hmm. Cortisol and adrenaline are the stress hormones.

Doesn’t this suggest that in asthma, the stress hormone system has become overwhelmed and is failing to function correctly?

And since we know that overwhelm of the stress hormone system is caused by Developmental Trauma Disorder, shouldn’t we be a) dealing with the causative factors of childhood stress, and b) teaching asthma sufferers to soothe their stress profiles?

Studies show that children known to suffer from asthma have a diminished production of cortisol in response to stress. No surprises there, then.

Many studies of asthmatic children and adults have documented a strong association between disease severity and emotional states triggered by relationships.

One study shows asthmatic children were more likely than their healthy counterparts to engage in long, escalating, mutually negative interactions with both their mothers and fathers. Measurements showed that when the children felt frustrated or criticized, the flow of air from their lungs diminished. Decreased airflow has also been documented when asthmatic children were asked to recall incidents of intense anger and fear.

Is there any treatment of asthma that promotes the return of a healthy stress hormone profile? Not that I know of. If anyone knows of one, please let me know.

Another side-effect of asthma is hyperventilation – over-breathing. This depletes the body of carbon dioxide, in particular, in the bronchioles. The low carbon dioxide in turn promotes more constriction in these airways in order to minimize air exchange and conserve carbon dioxide. Hmm. Over-breathing is one of the main effects of overwhelming stress. And slow out-breath breathing is the only sure-fire way of soothing the nervous system during a stressful event. Accordingly there are studies showing that training to breathe less air per minute reduces asthma symptoms.

Any of you asthma sufferers ever been told this stuff?

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