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    Hi All, Looking for Support and Suggestions?
    SolarFlareWolf posted:
    I'm a 21 year old woman who has had asthma my whole life. My mom says I've had emergency room visits since I was two over it. Asthma runs on both sides of my family, as do environmental allergies. Food allergies, diabetes, and heart disease are in my family history, but not frequently. Only a few people, not close relatives have any of that. My grandmother is allergic to shellfish and has had a minor heart attack, but she's a smoker too.
    Anyway, my asthma doesn't like the world. Exercise-induced, bothered by very cold, very hot, and/or very humid/rainy weather as well as my known allergies (ragweed, hay fever, grass, dust, mold, sometimes dogs and cats, usually only after being exposed after long term absence of an animal). Fun right? As far as I know I don't have any food allergies, though I'm starting to think I'm developing one. After a problem with bedbugs I seem to now have a mysterious case of chronic hives. The bugs are gone, so the welts should be too, but alas they're not and I can't figure out what's causing them.
    I do live with my grandmother, she has a dog and, as I mentioned above, smokes. I've been on Albuterol my entire life, inhaler, liquid, nebulizer. Now, my asthma has actually been quite well behaved this year (thankfully), and only recently have I been experiencing wheezing and coughing. I had it earlier in the year, but it would act up a little and then behave and be "gone" for several weeks to months. Now, to be fair to my lungs, the weather has been quite funky where I live with rain and fluxing temperatures and I gave blood a couple weeks ago. Nonetheless it's irritating.
    My main concerns are this, how to control my asthma without using my nebulizer so much (I don't have an inhaler, and yes I know that's a massive omgbad!). As well, I have been looking into what the effects of using Albuterol for such a long time can do and I'm curious about other people experiencing effects from using it long term. I've always had a slightly elevated heart rate, and honestly I'm starting to think that sometimes my shortness of breath or chest tightness after mild exercise isn't my asthma but my heart overreacting to the exertion. I'm about to go to a new doctor as well and this makes this a bit hard for me.
    I do have very healthy blood pressure and eat mostly decently, but I'll admit I'm a sugar fiend and overweight. Speaking of which, can asthma medicines affect your eyes? Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration run in my family as well and I've found my eyesight has been getting worse since high school, right around when my asthma also got really bad. I have used Advair and Asmanex in the past, didn't like the Advair, it didn't help as much as I wanted and had side effects I didn't like. Honestly I don't think Asmanex worked very well for me either, it started out fine but I was still having symptoms. Of course, I never used a controller until high school either.
    So, similar experiences/life stories? Any information on long term effects of Albuterol use? Advice on speaking to my new doctor about this stuff? Suggestions for controlling asthma besides exercise? I know exercise is important, but I constantly get harped at on that point and I will not take a puff of inhaler before exercising. It jumps my heart rate and kills my already low stamina, not to mention the shaking it causes. If you have some advice on exercise (I can't swim btw) other than that I'd like to hear it.
    amcate responded:
    Sorry, I just saw this thread. I used albuterol, but when it failed a few times they switched me to Combivent. Combivent and its equivalent in neb form of DuoNeb are combinations of albuterol and ipratropium bromide (aka Atrovent). So, in fact my answers are how combination drug of albuterol and atrovent affect me.

    Yes, on a temporary basis the heart rate increases and muscles shake. With the neb, the heart sometimes beats so hard that it causes pain, which is why now if I piggyback the MD suggests alternating with Xopenex. However, I only use albuterol type meds when I'm having an attack, so I don't use them everyday. The effects for the most part go away.

    The only effect I've had long term is I do have a fast heart rate even when I've exercised regularly and my weight was good and even during times when I could use Flovent instead of Advair as a controller. No one knows why, except that it is sinus and not ventricular, which means the heart is responding to something else and beating fast as opposed to there being a cardiac problem.

    In terms of other things you could try, I read a book on Natural Hygiene, which is controversal but most of their suggestions would not cause harm. It covers a wide variety of topics from stress control to getting rid of household products that are irritating to the body to dietary factors that can produce and thicken mucus to skin care. It's sort of a whole approach to trying to decrease overall stress on the body, viewing that if the body is not overloaded it can help itself better. When I followed it strictly, I did find it helped. I also goes over indoor air quality and the types of plants that help clean the air (NASA has studies on this to support claims) without releasing mold or other allergens/aggravants. It considers that several small stresses add up to a big stress on the body, so to follow it strictly you normally have to make multiple changes. However, it did help during the time I followed it-I lost about 40 pounds (I was able to hike and exercise, but exercise is not the only component of health they speak about), I was able to be maintained on FloVent instead of Advair, and my prednisone use went way down. It just takes a lot of effort. There are aspects of it I don't follow since I think there would be risk of potential harm. The book I read was by Harvy and Marilynn Diamond. Again, though, the ideas are controversal. I didn't maintain following through on the lifestyle changes when I started to work more, and so the asthma is not as well controlled right now as it was then. I forgot-they also go into a lot of detail for clean air, alternatives to certain cleaning products in the home, types of laundry detergent least likely to aggravate the skin, sleep and sleep habits and the importance of making sure the body has sufficient energy to met the stresses it faces, etc.

    Hope this helps you.
    SolarFlareWolf replied to amcate's response:
    oh, thank you for the suggestion :3 I'll see what sort of books I can find. It will be useful when I'm able to move out, cuz then I'll have total control of what's in my environment. I'd certainly enjoy seeing the plant suggestions, I love plants, so that'd be great.

    I don't use my albuterol every day either, but I have flareups that tend to last for days. So, I could go months with little symptoms and could have a flareup for days like I'm having now. I've actually never heard of Combivent or Xopenex. I think I may have seen the name Atrovent once or twice. I've only ever tried Singulair, Advair, and Asmanex. Otherwise albuterol has been the go to meds forever. And honestly I didn't get to Advair until high school when my asthma divebombed for whatever reason, then I got switched to a Singulair, Asmanex combo when I switched doctors and complained of Advair side effects.

    I can't say that I ever felt fully controlled on any of those three meds, but I'm also a little paranoid about it. I still had asthma troubles despite the meds, where I was using my inhaler about once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less.

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