A full-blown asthma attack is a nightmare: you can't catch your breath. Add coughing, rattly wheezing, a choking sensation and the light-headed feeling that accompanies a lack of oxygen and you get the idea. Asthma is worse than inconvenient; it can be fatal. In the United States, asthma has become an epidemic, especially among children.
Orthodox physicians treat it with steroids, antihistamines, bronchiole dilators and other drugs, all of which have adverse side effects and none of which address asthma's cause.
"Extrinsic" or "atopic" asthma is related to allergies and brings a characteristic increase in the blood serum immunoglobulin IgE. ''Intrinsic" asthma does not involve allergies; it is triggered by chemicals, exposure to cold air or water, active physical exercise, infection or emotional upset.
Recent research by Michael Burr at the Center for Applied Public Health Medicine in Cardiff, Wales, found that industrial pollution with sulfur dioxide and smoke does not cause asthma but appears to increase its severity. The study blamed diesel exhaust fumes and ozone for increasing the allergic effects of inhaled allergens and noted a rise in asthma cases in areas with decreasing industrial pollution but increasing automobile traffic. Until hydrogen replaces petroleum as a fuel, large cities and busy roads will make life more difficult for asthma patients.