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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weekly Asthma FAQ

Every day at we get lots of asthma related questions. Below are some questions I thought my readers at the RT Cave would enjoy.

Question: My child was diagnosed with adhd and mild autism, is there a link between that and asthma. Likewise, my son gets unruly when I give him breathing treatments, what can be done about this?

My humble answer:

I can think of no link between asthma and adhd or autism. However, as a respiratory therapist, I do give lots of breathing treatments to kids, and I can tell you first hand that it is not uncommon for kids to be unruly during treatments -- in fact, it is quite common. It can sometimes be a challenge to get them to take their treatments.

When your child is on treatments, how often does he take them? I ask this because one side effect of bronchodilators is they can make kids hyper active. I see this quite a bit in the hospital. In fact, I often joke that you know a treatment is working when the kids starts running laps around the bed.

What bronchodilator do you give your son? If your doctor prescribed Albuterol, you might want to discuss your doctor prescribing Xopenex, which some studies show has fewer side effects (although I often question this finding). The only other option I can think of is to limit the # of treatments you give to only when he is short of breath, as opposed to giving them every four hours regardless.

Keep in mind this is my opinion and personal observation. Always, the best person to talk with about your concerns is your child's physician.

Question: What causes me to have asthma?

My humable answer:
No one really knows why people get asthma. However, it appears scientists are getting closer and closer to figuring this out, as I wrote in a recent post, "The Hygiene Hypothesis: Does Cleanliness Cause Asthma?"

Or are you refering to why people get asthma attacks. Usually an asthma attack occurs when an asthmatic is exposed to one of his (or her) asthma triggers. Asthma triggers are things (like dust mites, strong smells, etc.) that don't bother people with normal lungs, but will irritate the asthmatic lung, thus causing your air passages to become inflammed and to close up making it hard to get air out of your lungs.

So, in a way, asthma is your body attacking itself. What makes your body decide to attack itself? Scientists are still to this day working to figure this out, although they seem to be coming closer and closer each day.

To determine what your personal asthma triggers are you will need to be vigilant and communicate with your physician. Your physician may also prescribe asthma medicines to PREVENT asthma attacks from occuring.

Question: Will the weather effect my asthma?

My humble answer: Great question. The answer is yes. Both high and low humidity can effect your asthma as I wrote about in a recent post, "High and low humidity not good for asthma."

Cold air can also be an asthma trigger, as I also wrote about in a recent post, "Gallant Asthmatics Know and Know How To Avoid Their Asthma Triggers."

This issue was also addressed in this post. I also recommend reading this Q&A.

If after checking out these links you continue to have questions, please feel free to

Question: Will I always have to use asthma medicines?

My humble answer: Our own Dr. James Thompson wrote a post on this recently called, "When Can I Stop My Asthma Medication?"

Question: Will my asthma medicines become habit forming?

My humble answer: If you're referring to controller asthma medicine, the answer is "hopefully." You want to make sure you take all the medicine exactly as prescribed, especially if you are feeling good. If it gets to be a habit to take your medicine all the better -- that's a great thing actually.

Or did you mean addicting. Can you become addicted to asthma medicines? I have never heard of anyone becoming addicted to asthma medicines. However, for some people with severe asthma, it may seem they are addicted to their rescue inhaler as they use it more frequently than the average asthmatic. But I don't think you can become addicted to any asthma medicine.

Question: Can stress bring on an asthma attack?

My humble answer: Believe it or not, it used ot be believed that stress and anxiety caused asthma, or that asthma is all in your head (as you can read about in this old book). However, that old theory has since been disproven. However, while scientists now know your asthma is not all in your head, they have proven that anxiety and stress can "trigger" an asthma attack. You can read an excellent post about stress and asthma by clicking here.

If you have any further questions you can.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wish I had a blog like this to refer to when my kids were first diagnosed. I will be definitely be back!