The problem with asthma treatments
October 9th 2007, 15:06
The gold-standard treatment for asthma rests on the assumption that asthma is an inflammation. Consequently, doctors usually treat it with steroids, the main drug for inflammation. Indeed, by the mid-1990s, steroid use for asthma had more than tripled in the US to 41.4 per cent.
So convinced is medicine that its model of asthma as local inflammation is correct that researchers failed to subject the idea to much scrutiny-until recently. New evidence, detailed in the October issue of WDDTY, shows that steroids are making things in the lungs worse. After analyzing the medical records of nearly 200,000 asthma sufferers, Denver epidemiologists noticed a clear association between steroid use for asthma and the incidence of pneumonia.
What's more, they found that, by using steroids, patients who developed pneumonia had a 50-percent greater risk of dying from the disease.
By inhibiting the body's ability to react to foreign invasion, steroids lay it open to life-threatening infection.
And because it regards asthma as a problem starting and ending with the lungs, medicine has ignored new evidence that people with asthma have increased levels of a certain type of white blood cell-the chief fire-fighters of infection and allergy throughout the body. This suggests that, although asthma shows up in the lungs, it is simply a manifestation of a bigger problem-a global allergy.
Indeed, doctors such as John Mansfield have amassed an enormous body of clinical evidence to show that asthma can be caused by a coterie of dietary allergens, and not simply airborne ones that affect the lungs.