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Old 07-31-2008, 07:19 PM   #1
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Questions about "Non-allergic" asthma

I know I've been here tons of times before asking about my breathing issues, but I would like to ask the input of anyone who knows anything about non-allergic asthma.

It's been a year and I am still huffing and puffing, for reasons unknown. My doctor has suggested asthma, ordered me a methacholine test and tried numerous times to put me on albuterol. I passed the asthma test and albuterol never does anything for me.

Someone on this board mentioned ot me once the possibility of something called non-allergic asthma, which I have gathered is asthma or something very much like it that is not triggered by allergens, and is triggered, instead, by things like cold/dry air, smoke, stress, obesity and a few other things.

I am really leaning toward the possibility of having this. My symptoms are very much like those of someone with allergic asthma, but I am not allergic to anything. I have found that some physical exertion (like walking up 2+ flights of stairs) and winter air do make me feel worse, but sometimes I get short of breath for no reason. I might be eating dinner and -boom- I can't catch my breath.

I am also wondering if an asthma medication could help me. My ENT suggested the possibility of allergies and put me on Allegra-D. I only took it once because it gave me a headache, but I am wondering if this could help me with my breathing issues. I figure being on it for a day and feeling no difference is not indicative of whether or not it would be effective.

Does anyone here have this non-allergic asthma? What, if anything, do you utilize in terms of treatment? Is this something that could possibly go away on its own?

Part of me is wondering if my weight has anything to do with it. I am not enormous, but I am still definitely overweight - last I checked, I was 190. And I am 5' 6".

 
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Old 08-01-2008, 02:09 AM   #2
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Re: Questions about "Non-allergic" asthma

Non-allergic asthma is a form of asthma that is triggered by something other than allergies. It is treated exactly like allergic asthma but, antihistamines like Allegra-D probably won't be much help because they primarily help minimize the effects of allergies.

If albuterol doesn't seem to help you should consider the possibility that what you're experiencing is acid-reflux related. Acid reflux can cause asthma-like symptoms and can cause asthma flare ups in people with asthma by irritating the sensitive tissues that line the respiratory tract. If acid reflux is contributing to the problem, getting the reflux under control should help you manage symptoms you're experiencing. Your weight and your description of shortness of breath while eating may indicate that acid reflux is playing a role in your symptoms.

Beyond that, you need to work with a doctor to get the asthma under control - albuterol is typically used as a rescue inhaler after you start having an asthma attack, other inhaled medications like Flovent or Advair are better at controlling the symptoms and keeping the attack from ever starting. Singulair is another oral medication that helps keep the attacks from ever happening.

If you have asthma - non-allergic or allergic - it will not go away, but if you work with a pulmonologist to get on an asthma treatment plan you'll be able to manage the symptoms much more effectively.

 
Old 08-01-2008, 04:56 AM   #3
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Re: Questions about "Non-allergic" asthma

I tend to agree that it isn't asthma. My asthma is not triggered by allergens....but albuterol will stop an attack. Generally speaking, an asthma attack of any kind can be eased or stopped by albuterol. Since it does not help you at all, I lean towards acid reflux as well - contributed to by your weight. The comment that it happens while you are eating also would indicate that.

 
Old 08-01-2008, 11:32 AM   #4
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Re: Questions about "Non-allergic" asthma

Thanks for all the input.

I am looking at the symptoms of acid reflux...and it really doesn't sound like anything I have. I have none of the symptoms...I have no heartburn, I don't 'throw up a little in my mouth', I don't feel nauseous, and I don't cough or choke. I'm not trying to be a pain and argue what I have been told, but it seems unlikely that I have GERD.

 
Old 08-01-2008, 12:18 PM   #5
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Re: Questions about "Non-allergic" asthma

Well, why not try an OTC acid reflux med for a few days and see if it helps? The asthma med is not so that's sort of out. It couldn't hurt and it might help.

 
Old 08-02-2008, 02:36 AM   #6
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Re: Questions about "Non-allergic" asthma

Just one additional comment - you've listed some of the basic symptoms of acid reflux but it can be much more complicated than that. There are actually several different types of acid reflux and one of them, LPR, is called "silent reflux" because it doesn't have many of those traditional symptoms you mention. The symptoms of LPR are:

-Hoarseness
-Throat clearing
-Post-nasal drip
-Occasional difficulty swallowing
-Asthma-like breathing problems
-"lump in the throat" sensation

LPR is often the "version" of acid reflux that contributes to asthma symptoms and very few people who have it experience heartburn or the other symptoms you mention.

LPR may not have anything to do with what you're experiencing, and either way, you need to get on an asthma treatment plan, but the biggest key to successfully managing asthma is knowing what triggers it so that you can avoid (or manage) the triggers of your asthma.

 
Old 08-02-2008, 05:49 AM   #7
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Re: Questions about "Non-allergic" asthma

exactly! just as you say, not everyones asthma, or reflux presents in the same way. i have just been through the whole process with an allergy specialist, CT scan of head, blood tests for antibodies (scratch tests are not conclusive) and the scratch tests again. nothing, nada. zip. nevertheless, i have had 'allergic' reactions to several medicinal items. perhaps something missed in the testing. you can not make a diagnosis based on the presence or absence of one particular symptom. i have been told by an ER doc i do not have asthma (he asked if i had a wheeze, i said i never wheeze, because of that i dont have asthma? wrong.) another ER doc said i dont have migraines because i didnt say they were on one side of my head. i wish i ha puked on his shoes and said "hows that for a migraine symptom" sorry, some dark humour there. but i get mean when i have a migraine. i disagree about the antihistamines. although i am told i am not 'allergic', i find diphenhydramine (benadryl for one) was the one that worked for me, awesome. except, it drys up the post nasal drip fairly well, but for me, then i am so dry inside that becomes an issue. but the best non medicinal thing i did, was finally after years and years, i moved to a different apartment building (last was old and moldy, dirty 40 yr old carpet) to a newly renovated suite, different building. laminate floors and blinds in the bedroom. a pristine bedroom is a major help, mop and dust often. wash bedding at least once a week, twice is better. (not that i ever do, work too much). also, not mentioned was symbicort which has worked great for me last 4 months. and albuterol is not the only rescue inhaler out there. go online and search asthma medicines. best of luck to you. Dee

 
Old 08-03-2008, 11:15 AM   #8
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Re: Questions about "Non-allergic" asthma

gcsmithjr,

Aside from the breathing problems, the only other symptoms I have is the post-nasal drip, which started within the last few months (has not happened for as long as the breathing problems).

Maybe it has something to do with where I live. The air around here is allegedly very full of soot.

 
Old 08-04-2008, 04:12 AM   #9
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Re: Questions about "Non-allergic" asthma

I guess you'll just have to use trial and error (and hopefully a willing doctor) to try to sort out what's triggering your asthma and what helps you manage it.

Typically there are three categories of triggers for asthma: allergies, environmental irritants, and acid reflux. Since you don't have allergies (although I just re-read your post and you never actually mention whether you've been tested for allergies), and don't think it's acid reflux, you're left with the environmental irritants like hot/cold, pollution, etc.

Unfortunately, the best option for non-allergic asthma is to figure out what the triggers are and try to avoid them (because antihistamines don't always help).

You really need to see a doctor and get an asthma treatment plan and some preventive meds like Flovent or Singulair. Hopefully those will help manage it better but you'll still need a rescue inhaler if you have a flare up.

 
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