Thursday, July 24, 2014

Asthma Symptoms Mitigated As A Result Of Weight Loss, Avoiding Wheat and Soy

Asthma is life altering, rarely but possibly fatal. Many physical, dietary, and environmental factors can trigger an attack; there is no cure. But knowledge gained through trial-and-error to determine personal triggers is essential to allay asthma symptoms.

(This article was first published on the Yahoo Contributors Network on July 7, 2013)

About ten years ago, my childhood asthma gradually and vigorously returned, which made it necessary to take short and quick breaths.

The symptoms were the same as when I was a child: an inability to breathe deeply, an intense and persistent cough, wheezing, sleeping problems, fatigue, and irritability.

My doctor’s diagnosis was moderate to severe persistent asthma. He prescribed a bronchodilator medication as a rescue inhaler. As my asthma worsened, I was using the maximum dose four times a day, sometimes more than prescribed, without relief. He then prescribed a long-term maintenance inhaler to take morning and night. I continued to use the rescue inhaler as needed. But my asthma continued to get worse.

There have been occasions when a visit to the emergency room would have been the most prudent course of action. The most recent occurred when I had a bout with the flu. With a constant cough and the inability to take a deep breath, it made using my emergency inhaler for relief difficult. After several desperate attempts, I was able to get sufficient puffs of albuterol mist into my lungs to recover.

That event coupled with the death last year of New York Times reporter Anthony Shadid reminded me of my childhood asthma and the need to take my asthma more seriously. Shadid died in Syria of an asthma attack because of exposure to his guides’ horses.

When I was a child, my family owned horses. Along with weather and other environmental factors, the exposure to horses was one of the major triggers of my childhood asthma. Moreover, the result of skin tests revealed that I had food allergies as well. Peanuts, eggs, and fish were implicated in the cause of my asthma.

I decided to take a closer look at my asthma’s food triggers. We no longer have horses. Peanuts and fish I have always avoided. Eggs that are in bakery products have not been a problem, and I rarely eat cooked eggs. But I have isolated two food ingredients that are in common with every bout I have had with asthma: wheat and soy.

Additionally, it seems the simple process of eating exacerbates my asthma. And I learned that eating less and taking the time to eat reduces the breathing problems I have had following meals.

As a consequence of avoiding wheat and soy, adjusting my eating habits, and reducing the amounts I eat, over the last year I have lost about 40 pounds. Consequently, I found that being overweight was also one of the factors that made my asthma worse.

It has been difficult; wheat and soy are in almost all food. However, I found that wheat flour and soybean oil, the most prevalent of these food ingredients, I can tolerate.

I still suffer from asthma; but the frequency and severity of symptoms have significantly improved. I have stopped taking my maintenance inhaler. I continue to use my rescue inhaler but the need is limited to at most a couple of days a week.

Copyright © 2014 Horatio Green