Treatment in Status Asthmaticus
Status asthmaticus is an acute episode of asthma that remains unresponsive to standard treatment with bronchodilators. It occurs when asthma symptoms - difficulty breathing, wheezing with retractions, and coughing - fail to improve even with emergency medication treatment
Status asthmaticus can vary from a mild form to a severe form with bronchospasm (in which the smooth muscles of the bronchi suddenly contract and narrow the airways), airway inflammation, and mucus plugging that can cause difficulty breathing, and respiratory failure.
What are the sympyoms of status asthmaticus?
Status asthmaticus is an emergency situation that can lead to death.
- extreme difficulty with breathing, which causes restlessness
- coughing and wheezing are not common, because there is not enough airflow
- advanced symptoms include little or no breath sounds
- inability to speak
- skin becomes bluish
- heavy sweating
- unconsciousness and even cardiopulmonary arrest, which can be fatal.
How is it diagnosed?
Status asthmaticus is diagnosed according to the patient’s symptoms and a physical examination. The most important diagnostic test is the arterial blood gas, which measures the concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Low blood oxygen is called hypoxemia.
How is this condition treated?
Treatment of this emergency condition may be started at home but hospital treatment is a must. Since it is a severe form of asthma, one can only try to provide temporary relief at home, but proper monitoring and treatment has to be done by an experienced doctor at a hospital.
Oxygen should be administered to maintain normal saturations. Only those patients with chronic severe asthma and chronic hypercarbia are at risk for increasing hypercarbia with oxygen administration.
The initial treatment starts with supplemental oxygen to increase blood oxygen levels. The doctor will also provide with an inhaled or intravenous bronchodilator to open the airways.
Other common treatments include administering large doses of corticosteroids drugs and bronchodilators to reduce inflammation; anticholinergics, to block both muscle contraction and the production of excess mucus.
The patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen levels are monitored carefully.
Herbal home remedies so as to prevent status asthmaticus:
Several herbal remedies exist for the treatment and prevention of status asthmaticus, which can be started before medical aid comes in. These include:
- Garlic juice can ease asthma symptoms.
- Licorice tea reduces wheezing symptoms
- Ginkgo eases cough symptoms.
- Thyme relieves wheezing.
Wheezing can be alleviated by drinking licorice tea. Boil one teaspoon of licorice (Yashti madbu) root in one cup of water, adding 5-10 drops of mahanarayan oil just before drinking. The patient should take one sip every 5-10 minutes.
An instant ayurvedic remedy for breathlessness is a mixture of onion juice, black pepper, and honey.
Mustard tea – ground mustard seed along with black pepper and honey may be drunk two or three times daily. Another mustard remedy is consuming brown mustard oil with natural sugar two or three times daily.
Homeopathic remedies are available for status asthmaticus. These medicines are chosen for each patient based on his or her pattern of symptoms.
Some common medicines include:
- Arsenicum - for patients who experience restlessness, wheezing, and shortness of breath between midnight and 3 A.M.
- Spongia - for those who have dry wheezing and a feeling of suffocation.
- Lobelia - for patients with chest tightness and wheezing that is worsened in cold air.
- Sambucus - for those whose wheezing is worsened after midnight .
- Ipecac - for patients who have a lot of mucus in the lungs, coughing.
- Bryonia - for patients with dry wheezing.
All medications are to be taken only proper medical supervision. Medications and dosage differ from person to person, and are given depending upon the patient’s nature and symptoms.
Other treatments for include:
- Aromatherapy: The essential oils of lavender, eucalyptus relieve congestion and wheezing.
- Diet: Eliminate red meat, wheat and dairy products; and follow a simple vegetarian diet to relieve asthma symptoms.
- Supplements: Magnesium supplements help prevent bronchial spasms. The probability of asthma attacks may also be reduced by taking vitamin C and B complex supplements.
Certain yoga positions also help relieve wheezing by improving breathing control and reducing stress