Asthma Alert: Are Steroid Pills Helping or Harming?

Asthma is an inflammatory lung condition that affects 1 in 13 people. It is a potentially life-threatening condition and requires proper management and treatment. Most commonly, inhalers are used to treat asthma. However, oral steroid tablets are also prescribed and can be beneficial in reducing inflammation, especially in severe asthma attacks. Unfortunately, research has shown that these steroid tablets are often overprescribed, leading to chronic side effects.

A study from the University of Queensland in Australia found that more than a quarter of people with asthma were prescribed potentially dangerous amounts of steroid tablets. As a result, they were at a higher risk of developing serious health issues, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, or cataracts. While this study took place in Australia, overprescribing of oral steroids is also a problem in the US, particularly for children with asthma.

So, what’s the solution? Researchers suggest a better and more consistent use of inhalers, especially something called preventer inhalers. There are two types of inhalers for asthma: reliever inhalers and preventer inhalers. Reliever inhalers are used during an asthma attack to provide immediate relief. Preventer inhalers, on the other hand, are used daily to control inflammation and help prevent asthma attacks.

However, preventer inhalers alone may not be enough for some people to manage their asthma without resorting to oral steroids. In these cases, natural remedies can be helpful in reducing inflammation and improving overall lung health. Some examples include fish oil, nasal rinsing, vitamin C, vitamin D, and Nigella sativa (also known as black seed oil or golden oil).

Fish oil is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to help reduce symptoms in people with asthma. Nasal rinsing, typically done with a saline solution, can help clear the nasal passages and reduce inflammation that can trigger asthma symptoms. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that may help protect the lungs from damage and inflammation, while vitamin D is essential for proper immune function and has been linked to better asthma control.

Nigella sativa, or black seed oil, is a lesser-known natural remedy with potent anti-inflammatory effects. A study found that this oil can inhibit histamine release, making it a potentially effective treatment and preventive measure for asthma.

Incorporating these natural remedies into an asthma treatment plan, along with the appropriate use of inhalers, can help to manage symptoms more effectively. By doing so, asthma sufferers may be able to reduce their reliance on oral steroids and avoid the associated chronic side effects.

However, it’s important to note that not all natural remedies are suitable for everyone, and it’s always important to consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to an asthma treatment plan.

In conclusion, managing asthma effectively often requires a multifaceted approach that may include inhalers, natural remedies, and lifestyle changes. By focusing on prevention and reducing inflammation, people with asthma can enjoy a better quality of life and reduce their need for potentially harmful oral steroids. With proper treatment and management, it’s possible to reduce the impact of asthma on day-to-day life and enjoy a greater sense of well-being.