Discussions that mention proventil

Asthma board

I have had mild chronic asthma for over 30 years and this disease does indeed cause a lot of anxiety. I think anxiety comes from two sources: (1) PHYSICAL - the brain is being robbed of oxygen and such an instinctive need will not be denied without notice to the rest of the body systems. (2) PSYCHOLOGICAL – the panic of not knowing what will come next and how bad will it be.

However, walking around with asthma does not have to feel like walking around with a potential time bomb, so I thought I would share a few coping mechanisms I have used: [ created this from my own experience so I don’t think this has been officially physician endorsed anywhere]

1. Get used to carrying around your emergency inhaler and for that matter the preventive inhalers also. Just make a permanent home for one in your purse or pocket, just like you do for your keys and wallet. I also keep duplicates in my car and in my desk at work, just in case I forget it at home. I never go anywhere, even out to lunch without slipping my Proventil into my pocket, even if I’ve felt great for days. It’s like an insurance policy. If you need it to nip-in-the-bud a reaction to some unexpected irritant I have the inhaler, if not, my work colleagues never need know. Think of your meds as a tool for a full life rather than a chain.

2. Take some time to know how fast your reactions appear and how it feels with each stage (write a journal for a while or whatever learning method you like). This is just my personal experience, but knowing this actually makes me feel less anxious simply because I know what is coming next. It also makes you aware of your own body, and you eventually can figure out whether you can get home by yourself after shopping or whether you need to sit and phone for help.

3. The next time you feel an attack coming on, before you take a dose of the emergency inhaler, try this. Sit down, and force yourself to breath in and out slowly and forcefully with full deep breaths for a couple of breaths. I swear this briefly delays the escalation of the asthma symptoms. It also gets you more oxygen, which slightly relieves that panic feeling. Then dose yourself with your inhaler. (without any psychobabble, you are training your oxygen-starved brain to think rationally (where are my meds, where can I get some help, how bad is it?) not panic -- and then rewarding it for doing so). PLEASE NOTE: this isn’t a substitute for meds, but it helps your mind learn to reduce the anxiety associated with an impending attack.

4. Use the expert knowledge of a friendly knowledgeable allergist that specializes in asthma. So much the better if they have some association with research or those that do it. The developments in this field are moving pretty fast, and family docs generally can’t know everything in the depth you need.

Now on to the questions:

1and 4) I think they originally thought this was a degenerative disease like emphysema, but now they think of it as more reactive. I personally would describe it as escalative (is that a word?) reactive. Like other allergies, the more you are exposed and the harsher reaction you have to it, the next exposure will be more harsh and it will take even longer time come down from your level of reactivity – the reverse is true also, the less reactions that you have, the your reactions to irritants taper off (different rates for different people and irritants). So I think your reactivity may decline GRADUALLY if you “behave yourself” but it will never completely go away. I have managed to cut my level of meds used this way over a long period of time (I mean over months and years) along with a long-term effort to remove my major irritants. By the way, I hate the meds too!

2, 3and 5). Tightness and/or wheezing means you ARE having a reaction, so you need medication. In an occasional pinch, I say whether you should rush back to the house depends on your self knowledge of how quick and severe the onset of symptoms are, how close you are to the end of you shopping and how close your home is. Keep an inhaler in your car and pocket and you won’t need to bother with this decision. J

6. Swallowing some meds allows a messy fungus called “thrush” to take hold in your throat & no point in medicating your digestive system. So rinse after taking steroid meds. Never heard of it causing cancer.

7. Mold invades castles and shacks alike in my region, so you have to look at this battle as an ongoing marathon toward good health. In the long term, my vote is to move to best mold-free environment you can afford (don’t forget the cost of all that extra meds you may possibly be able to avoid). In the short-term, vacuum and wash your linens “excessively”. Allergen-proof sheets & pillowcases help some people. To send surface mold packing, wash surfaces (bath, floors, etc) down with 1cup bleach to 1-gallon water. Let set least 5 minutes before rinsing. Have someone else do it if you react to chlorine. Then air out well. However, if you think mold is inside the walls or floor, time to move. Not doing so will certainly, make you more and more reactive, hence sapping your energy like the frog in the slowly heating frying pan that eventually cannot escape.

8. Studies show Serevent a component of Advair can aggravate people that are susceptible heart conditions, so have your allergist coordinate with a cardiologist or family doctor. In any case, that could be a micro-heart attack so you should let your doctor know about that one and that you are taking Adair.

9. This is just my preference, but I think it is always better to use steroids on site (inhaled onto lung tissue) that systemic (effecting the whole body). Why medicate the parts of the body that don’t need it and risk other parts of your body reacting. I think your doctor is right on this one.

One more thing: A professional doctor should NEVER laugh at a patient for asking questions, no matter how dumb or stupid he may initially think they are. Doctors that intimidate patients this way, are too consumed with their own professional insecurity to share solutions with good communication… so do him a favor…replace him with a professional that treats you with the dignity and respect you deserve!