Asthma is one of the most aggravating diseases that humans may suffer. It involves the very breath of life. One of the characteristic features of this disorder is that between attacks the victim may appear and feel as normal as anyone else and yet in a very short time may be in an attack so severe as to cause him to wish for the end of life.
Asthma is a paroxysmal difficulty of breathing resulting from sudden spasm of the bronchial tubes or their minute branches, or sudden swelling of the mucous membrane of these tubes. What produces the hypersensitiveness of the respiratory membrane, which is necessary to the production of asthma, may be difficult to determine. It is associated, however, with heart disease (cardiac asthma), kidney disease (renal asthma) or some outside irritant (hay asthma), or from minor causes. A protein sensitization often underlies the condition. Bronchial, nervous or essential asthma is a form for which a leading cause cannot be discovered, though usually there has been inherited a neurotic temperament.
This is another constitutional disease, hence must have constitutional treatment. Because of the underlying neurotic or highly nervous temperament this condition may respond less readily than do many other diseases, but there have been numerous cases where all symptoms have disappeared permanently. Numerous factors may be necessary in the treatment, but diet will be the first factor in most instances. In any case it will be necessary to build up the nervous energy and to detoxicate as completely as possible.
The most reliable treatment is an absolute fast, which if necessary may continue for as long as twenty, thirty or more days, depending upon the patient’s weight, strength and energy. After the fast or in cases where the fast cannot be used the citrus fruits, particularly the grapefruit, will be of very great benefit. This fruit particularly seems to aid in clearing the bronchial tubes of accumulated mucus and in bringing new mucus-forming elements to the tubes by the blood-stream.
After the fast or fruit diet the milk diet may be used with considerable benefit by a great many patients, particularly those who are below normal in weight and those whose nervous energy seems much below normal. But in a fair percentage of cases this diet seems to disagree. Temporarily it does tend to cause the throwing off of mucus, through its effect in speeding up the circulation, alkalinizing the system and aiding in throwing out waste products. But this eliminative effect is so pronounced occasionally that the patient’s breathing is interfered with to such an extent that another diet may have to be considered.