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Breathe In, Breathe Out- Respiratory Health

Couple meditating at the beach with arms upAccording to the American Lung Association over 35 million Americans suffer from some form of chronic lung disease. This includes asthma, COPD, bronchitis and lung cancer. An average person takes about 25,000 breaths on a normal day. A healthy respiratory system helps support easy breathing easy but some people do not have that advantage.

The respiratory system is made up of the nose, mouth, throat, lungs and blood vessels. When air is inhaled through the mouth or nose oxygen enters the body. The body then expels air with carbon dioxide upon exhaling.  A chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways, asthma, currently has no cure. In the US alone, more than 23 million people suffer from asthma. This respiratory disorder consists of bouts of breathing issues caused by inflamed and narrowing of the airways. Attacks can range from minor to severe to life threatening. During an asthmatic attack wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and shortness of breath can occur. Medications can decrease attacks, lessen symptoms, and allow sufferers to breathe much easier and lead more normal active lives.

Several studies have shown that certain supplements have effects that may help to decrease asthma symptoms.  A study done on asthma sufferers and fish oil showed a reduced build up in the lungs of acetylcholine, a chemical found to trigger asthma attacks and reduced symptoms. Another study another study showed the chronic asthma sufferers seem to have lower levels of the trace mineral selenium, an antioxidant, than their healthy peers. Another revealed that children who had persistent but moderate asthma used their inhalers less and had less symptoms when magnesium supplements were added to their diet.

In more recent years a vitamin D deficiency has been linked to modern indoor lifestyles. Children spend more time inside with their electronic devices than outdoors getting some sun while they play and exercise. Some research has shown that pregnant mothers that take vitamin D supplements may be able to lower the risk of their child developing asthma.

People who live with a smoker tend to be predisposed to pneumonia, bronchitis, coughs and asthma in those who had previously never shown symptoms. Harsh household cleaners in the home can irritate the respiratory tract and aggravate allergies. Cleaners containing ammonia or chlorine can irritate children with asthma also.  Using less toxic cleaners like baking soda and hot water can help your family breathe easier.

Singleton, Bonnie. “Supplements for Asthma.” Livestrong.com. 11 Apr. 2010. 18 Mar. 2013.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/104535-supplements-asthma/

Respiratory Diseases.  HealthyPeople.gov.  6 Sept. 2012. 16 Mar. 2013.

[http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topicsobjectives2020/overview.aspx?topicid=36].

Respiratory Health. CNN.com. 1 Sept. 2011. 16 Mar. 2013.

[http://www.cnn.com/HEALTH/conditions/respiratory.health/#].

Surprising Sources of Indoor Air Pollution. MedicineNet.com. 27 Oct. 2011. 17 Mar. 2013.

[http://www.medicinenet.com/sources_of_indoor_air_pollution_pictures_slideshow/article.htm].


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