The name asthma is given to abnormal spasm of the airways, often caused by environmental agents.

Asthma varies in severity from person to person. It may be mild and the only symptom may be a prolonged cough after a respiratory infection. Severe attacks can occur in some sufferers, which can be life-threatening.

Studies have shown that asthma is increasing in prevalence. It is more common in women than men.  There has been a fourfold increase amongst young UK children in the recent years.

Symptoms of asthma

The acute asthma attack may be severe and distressing. The cardinal features are:

  • shortness of breath
  • wheeze
  • cough

The only symptom of a chronic asthma attack may be a dry cough, though it is common to experience wheeze and recurrent chest infections. Often the wheeze is more noticeable after exertion.

Identifying the causes

As there is sometimes a hereditary component of the asthmatic tendency, the causes can be divided into genetic and environmental. Attacks may be provoked by a variety of stimuli, the commonest cause being inhaled substances, such as pollens and dust. They may also be provoked by food and chemical substances, by infection, by strong emotion or exercise.

In Finland, there has been a 20-fold increase of occurrences of asthma in otherwise fit young men entering military service. These dramatic increases have been attributed to increasing levels of pollution.

Treatment of asthma

Modern medicine often uses many different drugs in treating asthma and although they may be life-saving in an acute attack, most will only succeed in suppressing symptoms in the long term and do not address the underlying cause.

At Breakspear Medical, we start with identifying and addressing the underlying problems.

It is important to identify the precipitant factors, which are inhalants, such as house dust, foods and chemicals. We offer allergy/sensitivity testing for a wide variety of foods and inhalants and provide neutralising treatment to reduce sensitivities; this method is called low-dose immunotherapy (LDI), which is also known as provocation/neutralisation.  Using LDI, we can identify specific substances to which patients react and provide antigen vaccines, which neutralise the effects of these specific sensitivities.  More information about LDI…

We also offer pathology tests to check allergies, the immune system and nutritional status, and we have expert staff to advise on treatment. Addressing common allergies such as dust mites, dog and cat dander, food allergy and chemical sensitivities, yeast/fungi and pollens are often beneficial. We can provide environmental counselling to help control asthma by minimising exposure to causative agents.

We can also provide advice about specialised equipment where necessary.  For example, air and water filters may be beneficial. Reducing exposure to a variety of factors including indoor and outdoor pollution, heavy metals (particularly lead and mercury), aspirin, food dyes and salicylates may help.

If you or your child are suffering from asthma, make an appointment for a consultation with a Breakspear physician and find out which changes in diet, supplementation and allergy/sensitivity treatment programme may be best for you.


Breakspear Medical treats each patient individually, which means that there is no standard asthma treatment programme at a set price.  After your first appointment, you will be given a detailed estimate, with your recommended treatment programme in detail with all the costs, which will be explained to you by your Patient Liaison Officer.

On the day of your appointment or anytime afterward, if you have any specific questions regarding prices, estimates and treatment programmes, please contact a Patient Liaison Officer, by phone 01442 261 333 ext 604, or email:


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