Asthma update

No major major complaints for the time being, but as always on the asthma front, there’s some good news and then there’s some not so good news. Here’s the latest:

Ive been in my “green” breathing zone pretty much steadily now for the last 6-7 weeks and Ive been off the prednisone for almost 5 weeks! That’s a very good thing, because it means Ive been able to exercise more. And when I’m able to exercise more, everything in my life seems to go better.

On the not so good side of things, Ive been requiring more frequent nebulized Albuterol treatments. It used to be that on a good day, I could go 6 to 8 hours in between breathing treatments….now, it’s more like 3 or 4 hours! It used to also be, that when I’d wake up in the middle of the night short of breath, I could take a couple hits off the inhaler and get enough relief to fall back a sleep. Now when I wake up, I’m so SOB that the inhaler just doesn’t cut it . Instead, I have to get out of bed and take a neb treatment.

I don’t think this increased need for bronchodilators can be totally blamed on stopping the prednisone, as this was happening even when I was taking prednisone on a daily basis. More than likely, there are several factors including; a more acute perception of respiratory discomfort, a decline in overall lung function, and the erratic bronchospastic nature of my airways. Believe me, there’s nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night, gasping for air because your air passages decide to clamp up! This happens to me almost every night.

I should also mention that I don’t buy the argument that Albuterol inhalers are just as effective in delivering medication to the lungs as nebulizers. Granted, many, if not most people out there, don’t use their inhalers properly. But no matter how good or bad your technique is with an MDI and spacer, you have to have enough lung function to inhale the drug into your lungs. With mild shortness of breath it’s no big deal, but when you’re tight as a drum, that’s a different story. I guess the key is not letting yourself get that SOB in the first place ( but that’s another post).

What Ive tried to do recently when I feel the need for a treatment, is to limit myself to 10-12 breaths on the machine and then wait a few minutes and re-check my peak flows. If my PFs improve even minimally, I’ll discontinue the treatment and do some mental imagery until I “feel” better. When I take treatments in the middle of the night, I’ll take as few as 5 or 6 breaths, so that I don’t wake up completely. I don’t get total relief, but because I’m still half asleep, it’s enough where I’m able to stumble back to bed and hopefully doze back off.

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16 Comments

  1. Jay says:

    Thanks, Joey! I’ll check it out.

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Most frequently asked question

"Can you have an asthma attack with a normal sat reading"?
The answer is..YES!
While it's a little unusual to see a person with a perfect O2 sat of a 100% during a severe exacerbation, its pretty typical to see sats in the 94-97% range. The reason for this, is that asthma is a disease of the airways , not the alveoli where gas exchange takes place. Most asthmatics dont desaturate during the early stages of an attack,unless theres a secondary problem such as pneumonia. You have to be extremely ill with asthma if your sats are low.

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