Reducing Asthma

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This chapter provides an outline of dietary habits that have been shown to aid in reducing asthma symptoms or preventing the development of asthma altogether. While there is no doubt in the scientific community that healthy eating leads to a more productive lifestyle, most patients underestimate the power of proper nutrition, especially when it comes to asthma treatment. We hope to dispel some of these notions in this chapter. However, to understand how certain food groups positively or negatively affect asthmatics, we must first discuss asthma as a condition and the pathophysiology behind it.

In 1991, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) published the first
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These symptoms are usually a result of inflammation and significantly reduced airflow.
It is also important to note that asthma is caused by both genetic and environmental factors (Busse & Lemanske, 2001). Thus, a patient with a predisposition for developing asthma may never develop it because the environmental triggers are not present. On the other hand, a patient with no familial history of asthma may develop the condition due to the presence of environmental allergens.
The NHLBI classifies the severity of asthma symptoms into two main categories, intermittent and persistent, based on frequency of symptoms (National Asthma & Prevention, 2007). Persistent asthma is further split into mild, moderate, and severe subcategories (National Asthma & Prevention, 2007). While the definitions of these categories vary slightly between age groups, symptom frequency is fairly well defined. Patients with intermittent asthma experience symptoms two days per week or less, while patients with mild persistent asthma experience symptoms more than two days per week, but not daily (National Asthma & Prevention, 2007). Furthermore, patients with moderate persistent asthma experience symptoms daily, and patients with severe persistent asthma experience symptoms multiple times throughout each day (National Asthma & Prevention,

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