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Concomitant Health Issues

Hi Everyone! 

Has anyone else noticed any other health issues that may or may not be associated with allergies/asthma? 

For the last several years, my thyroid blood work has been coming back low; followup testing is inconclusive. It troubles me that the increase in speed of my asthma issues seem to coincide with these test results. My PCP seems content to just "watch" me; I'm no longer content to follow her lead in this. I have a physical scheduled for later this month  

Thoughts? 

Laura Jeanne ��

 

 

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  • K8sMom2002

    Laura Jeanne, I haven't heard of thyroid issues with asthma, but I do know that asthma is part of a triad — asthma, eczema and food allergies. And rhinitis and sinusitis are also very common in asthma. 

    Did you schedule the physical with your PCP or with a different doctor? Thyroid issues can complicate lots of different issues, so it's good that you're going to get to the bottom of this.

  • Serene

    Most of my conditions are linked. So I totally believe it.

    GERD caused by a hiatal hernia is an issue with me. I also have IC (Interstitial cystitis), Costochrondritis, and Low D.  All linked!

    I'm not sure what triggered what. But I know that Gerd can trigger asthma, as can Low D. I didn't get Costo until I started taking asthma meds. I didn't have IC until I took allergy meds, and had reactions to them. So medications and reactions to them are certainly a link. There is also a link to some forms of urinary tract antibiotics and lung disease.  So I believe there is a definite link between all my conditions… Treating one thing may have caused or triggered something else.

    Improving my vitamin D intake was recommended by my pulmonologist who tests all her patients for D. I turned out to be a bit low. Getting more D helped improve asthma and vitamin D. So I am a believer in Vitamin D and that is a simple fix.

  • K8sMom2002

    Serene, that's very interesting about the Vitamin D. I'll ask our allergist about it. I have a history of osteoporosis, so Vitamin D would be something I'd need to have checked anyway. 

  • Serene

    Yes my pulmologist is very educated about the d issue and since I was diagnosed I've read a lot about how d can help asthmatic conditions and low d can trigger asthma in some. I was prescribed the high dose of vitamin d and am on a more normal high dose now.  I noticed improvement after starting the higher d

    I was really happy to find that improving d intake helped other health conditions like the cystitis as well. I only wish I'd known I needed it sooner or that people were more educated about the links between these conditions

    My primary care doctor did nothing when reading the health reports but my pulm put me right on the high dose of d. Thank goodness I didn't listen to my gp.

  • K8sMom2002

    Wow, that article is really, really interesting! I'm definitely going to speak to my doctor (and my daughter's doctor) about Vitamin D. 

    I'm wondering if maybe since I don't get out in the sun as much any more — and since I slather on sunblock due to a family history of skin cancer — I might be at an increased risk for needing Vitamin D. It is definitely something to discuss with my doctor.

    I'm so glad you have a pulmonolgist who works with you like that! 

  • Serene

    The vitamin D council also has some good info on the Asthma/D link. 

    They have a newsletter with interesting info on the latest in vitamin D information.

    I would certainly talk to your doctor. My pulmologist has all her patients tested for D as part of her process.

    I think especially for those with outdoor allergies people may not be gettings so much D. And children who are spending more time indoors are likewise not playing and getting outside.  my area it is frequently overcast, foggy and gloomy. Several of my friends also have low vitamin D. 

    As we age, we also lose the ability to absorb it as well from the sun, and people with darker complections have to have a lot more exposure.

    There are lots of health benefits to D as well, including helping prevent colds. 

    WE need sunshine and modern living in lots of areas just doesn't allow us to expose enough skin to absorb as much as we should. At least on the weekends I try to go outside and expose skin when warm enough. Obvious you can't likely do that with your condition.

    There are two types of d, and some with allergies may have to go for the less common one made from plants. Most D now adays comes from lanolin. I found I fared better with the plant based kind- but you must buy it at a health market since the lanolin one is most common. Most people tolerate the lanolin, one ok.

    Of course Doctor can advise best since some meds and some vitamins don't go together.

  • Serene

    Oh, I forgot to mention one ofher health condition. I have MTHFR. It is a genetic mutation. A while back, as part of curiousity I signed up for a genetic test.

    . It turns out I am positive for some genes in the MTHFR area, which are responsible for being unable to process folic acid. I believe to some extent this genetic condition is the reason my body can't tolerate medicines like others do. However genetic based medicine is a foreign concept to docs in my area… So I don't have much to do to get help with that. 

    I did learn that I have a large percentage of Neanderthal DNA though when I wast tested. Interestingly enough, neanderthal dna increases your risk of allergies. I am in the top 90% of the percentile range with about 5% neanderthal DNA. 

  • Laura Jeanne

    Serene, 

    My daughter was diagnosed with MTHFR a few years ago, this after many agonizing years, for this mama. Years when I waited for THAT phone call. You see, my daughter has Bi-polar disorder. Years of misdiagnoses. Years of meds that didn't help, and sometimes almost killed her. 

    A couple years ago, her psychiatrist reluctantly ordered genetic testing and she came back with MTHFR. There are several different categories of meds that are used to treat disorders like my daughters; only one of which works for her. She is doing much better now, although she must stay in constant contact with her psychiatrist  

    My daughter is a fighter. She is my hero. 

    Serene, keep searching for a doctor that understands and can help you. They are out there. 

    Best, 

    Laura Jeanne ��

  • Laura Jeanne

    K8SMOM2002, 

    Yes, I have all of those you mentioned. 

    As for the appointment, it is with my PCP; however, if after the appointment I am still not satisfied with the wait & see approach, I'll ask for a referral to a specialist. Or, find a new PCP. 

    Tired of being tired, almost all the time. I sought out a forum on allergies/asthma because I want to be healthy, to be in control of my diagnosis', rather than them controlling me  

     

  • Kathy P

    Several years ago, I asked my PCP to throw in a Vit D level when she was ordering other blood work. Low and behold, it was quite low! I took high dose Rx for a few months and it came up. I take calcium/magnesium/VitD supplement. 

    I live in CA, but north far enough that we don't get sufficient sun in winter. 

    Since doc was ordering Dexa scan yesterday, I asked him to also check Vit D. Hopefully it will be back tomorrow. 

    Laura, I hear you on being sick and tired of being sick and tired. It's important to have a doc who will listen and maybe think outside the box if needed. Years ago, I was exhausted all the time. Doc ordered blood work and all came back WNL. But I was still sleeping my life away! She suggested trying a gf diet – she had no real science to back it up, but there was anecdotal evidence, so it was worth a try. And it worked. Don't give up and keep advocating for yourself!

  • Serene

    I have read that women with asthma have 35x more likely t be vitamin d deficient. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Serene and Laura Jeanne, very, very interesting about genetic mutations and the effect they have on us. I would have never realized how a genetic mutation involving the body's ability to absorb folic acid would have such a big impact on how other medications work! 

    to what Kathy P says — a doctor who will listen and think outside of the box is so critical. We're not all textbook cases, and sometimes science has to catch up to explain what is going on with our bodies. 

    And Laura Jeanne — on taking charge of your health and wanting to be in control of your diagnosis! No one will advocate more strongly FOR you THAN you.

    AAFA is a great source of information, and the members here have really helped me understand more about the many, many different faces asthma wears.

    We're so glad to have you and Serene — y'all have educated me already and I know other members will benefit from you as well. I just hope that WE can offer you the same support and encouragement!

  • Serene

    Yeah, MTHFR is a  pain, and so few doctors are aware or understand it. And the percentage of people with the mutation is fairly high… I think it was something like 30 percent. It doesn't help that they put folic acid in a ton of supplements.  Of course, the problems with genetics is you may have the mutation, but the gene might not express. So one is not entirely sure… They need to develop some screening and some way to test if this is an issue. People do need folates. So it isn't a bad thing for a lot of folks. 

    I should qualify that I do not KNOW this is the reason that I have trouble with meds, but I do suspect it may have some role in it, especially given my mom has the same issues and it has worsened over time.

    Unfortunately, I do find sometimes we must be our own advocate for medical issues. Many doctors aren't as versed or keeping themselves up to date when new info or discoveries are found. 

     

     

  • K8sMom2002

    Serene, I'd never heard of this for sure, so thank you for educating me. I know from my own mom and myself, we reacted to medications very differently than most other folks.

    My mom especially had issues — because she had to take a lot of antibiotics over the years, she wound up developing allergies to many, many antibiotics — all penicillin and several sulfa drugs. She also had a life threatening allergy to aspirin and morphine. 

    Do you think MTHFR has any impact on your asthma?

  • Laura Jeanne

    Thank you everyone. 

    I spent quite a bit of time online yesterday and last everning, and yet again this morning, researching information on thyroid disorders.  There is a lot of information out there and one really has to dig to get scholarly information.

    I finally found a Forum for Thyroid Disorders very similar to this one.  I joined and sent in an initial topic.  Hopefully I will be able to garner some much need information, direction and most importantly, support.

    The supportive community here is outstanding.  I am blessed to have found you.

    Best.

    Laura Jeanne 

  • Serene

    According to what I've read, and you must take this with a grain of salt, because I'm not an expert or anything.

    Some types of medicines used by  people with MTHFR mutation can deplete their folate levels.  So leading to health problems for them as they have trouble making and keeping folate. These could be common meds… The foods and cheap supplements are filled with Folic acid, which some people with MTHFR can't process to well. Folic is synthetic and just not good for some folks.

    People with MTHFR tend to suffer inflammation more and have difficulty with handling toxins and that could be why people with MTHFR have trouble sometimes with medicines that others do not. Their bodies have trouble getting rid of the stuff. 

    There is ongoing research about the affects of this mutation, but there is also a fair amount of…. Misinformation produced by natural healing doctors which may not be true or accurate, so it is tough to tell fact from fiction.

    It is clear that this is causing some people health issues, which includes autoimmune disorders, mental health issues etc. I have only had one doctor aware of MTHFR, who was willing to work with me, and he transferred away from my area shortly after taking me as a patient. None of my present doctors are informed about this issue. 

    I was tested geneticaly at 23 and me. They don't offer at the time much in the way of reliable data on health issues because of liability reasons. after getting the raw data dump from them, I was able to take the data to another serivce on the net and upload my genetics for a confidential report on the health issues related to my genetics.

    Afterward,  I have been contacted by 23 and Me to participate in a study on how genetics affects asthma. The study is presently ongoing.

    I wouldn't be surprised if MTHFR is the hidden cause of many ailments.

    There is no doubt, if I were able to consume medicines like my friends can, that conditions would not exacerbate. 

    If I were for example, able to take prilosec, or nexium, would I have asthma? I'm not sure…. 

     

     

  • Jen

    Laura Jeanne – Is your primary care doctor the one managing your asthma?  Do you see any specialists for your asthma or other issues?  I ask because while primary care doctors are great for lots of things, they have broad knowledge, not specific expertise.  I think it's important to follow your gut and advocate for what you need.

  • Laura Jeanne

    Jen, 

    Up until October of last year I was seeing my PCP for asthma management; she referred me to a specialist then.  The specialist has been great.  Wonderful, caring and warm people. 

  • Kathy P

    It's good when docs know their limitations and will refer out. My PCP would handle my asthma and she has refilled meds for me, but she prefers that I just go directly to my allergist who is the one who manages my asthma. I rarely go to my PCP if I'm sick – almost everything has an upper respiratory component, so the allergist is my go-to. I really only go to my PCP for trauma and hormonal issues. And last last time I went for either of those, they were complicated and I got referred out after she checked the simple stuff. LOL

  • K8sMom2002

    Laura Jeanne, that's very interesting about the 23 and me and the genetic research about asthma … keep us posted on how that goes, if you don't mind, because I'm really interested in all things genetic. Do you see or have you seen a geneticist? That might help you find out some scholarly studies on what the latest research says about the ways MTHFR impacts your health. 

    We are considering using 23 and me to fill in some holes about our daughter's biological family medical history, since she was adopted and already has some really rare conditions. I wasn't sure whether you could actually get the raw data from 23 and me to take to a geneticist … it sounds like you can?

    what Kathy P and Jen said … I'm really glad you have a great specialist that will help you manage your asthma. What are some ways that you combat reflux since you can't take prilosec or nexium?

  • Laura Jeanne

    Hi, 

    Serene was the one who did the 23 thing but I am seriously considering it. With my daughter having MTHFR it seems like it might be important to know. Her youngest is also beginning to show signs he may be bipolar as well but he's still too young for a definitive diagnosis. 

    My 31 year old son also has a genetic component to his issues, ADHD & moderate cognitive/learning disabilities.  Kennedy Krieger in Baltimore ran genetics tests on him when he was about 8 or so; he has a Balanced Transfer of gene 11 into gene 18.  KK told me that had it been an Unbalanced Transfer he would have been mentally retarded.  My tests showed it did not come through me. His father never followed through  

    As for the Prilosec and Nexium, my asthma dr suggested the OTC dosage of Nexium and I'm doing much better.  

    However, my PCP is not going to know what to do with me when I go in for my physical in a few weeks.  I've been doing a lot of research on thyroid disorders; I have lots of questions & even a symptom survey.  Many of the things on the survey I just figured were part of the aging process.  

    I just know I'm tired of feeling poorly all the time.  Hoping I can find a personal path to wellness  

    As for your daughter, you are an awesome momma & advocate for her.  She's a blessed little girl. Keep on searching & researching.  Kennedy Krieger is top of the line; it may be well worth it to check into them.  My son had Medicaid, without that, I would not have been able to take him there as a single parent  

    God Bless

     

  • K8sMom2002

    Laura Jeanne, on getting mixed up! 

    But it sounds like YOU are a great advocate for yourself. I'm glad you've become informed about thyroid issues so that you can talk with your PCP. Asthma all by itself is no picnic … to have to manage other things alongside? Ugh!

  • Kathy P

    I'm glad the change in reflux meds is helping. My doc is currently tweaking my reflux meds too. I just got switched to an RX one. Not sure if it's doing anything different. For me, avoiding trigger foods works best, but that is really hard!

  • K8sMom2002

    Kathy P, what sorts of foods trigger your reflux? Laura Jeanne, do you find certain foods cause a flare?

  • Kathy P

    Dairy and egg are my triggers. Generally, I can have harder cheese, baked milk and sheep's milk products. I have more issues with whey than casein and it's not lactose intolerance. Eggs are trickier. I'm OK w/ small amounts of baked egg on occasion. I bought gluten-free treats last week that had egg, so I wound up eating baked egg over several days. Ugh! I was miserable for several days with my reflux flared. If I were to continue to eat it, I'd wind up with dysphagia/swallowing issues. I highly suspect that dairy and egg are for me, but I have bothered to get scoped. I'd have to eat copious amounts for it to be accurate and that's not happening! I know it's an issue and I should avoid. Having a threshold makes it harder for me than complete avoidance like I do for gluten. I did have a scope several years back, but they did not take biopsies to check for eosinophils. They only did a gastric biopsy for h. pylori.

  • Laura Jeanne

    Yes, the "typical" triggers such as acidic foods & greasy foods.  Some strange things are: PBJ, hotdogs, ginger snaps, peanut butter…

     

  • Serene

    My reflux is caused by a hiatal hernia. I am short waisted so there simply is less real estate real estate in my esophagus region. I have thought about surgery for the hernia but I am wary of it and don't like the idea of the procedure or that it can come undone. Ugh

     

  • Kathy P

    I'm so glad spicy foods don't trigger reflux. I'd seriously lose my will to eat! Tonight I made Hatch chili that was so spicy my pure-bred Polish she was sweating after a couple bites. Lol!I can understand not wanting to have a procedure done if you can manage things non-surgically.

  • K8sMom2002

    Laura Jeanne, I assume you've had gall bladder issues ruled out? Greasy, fatty foods are what caused me problems pre-gall bladder surgery. 

    Serene, I've never once given much thanks for my weird body configuration — very long waist and very short legs, but now, hearing your experience, I do. I can totally understand avoiding surgery unless it was absolutely necessary and a permanent fix for the situation. 

    Kathy P, that's tough on the baked egg. Too bad they didn't scope for eosinophils … I take you DIDN'T have h. pylori? It would have been really nice to have had something definitive to treat that would have gotten rid of the reflux, since it is a trigger for your asthma. 

  • Serene

    One thing to try which might help some of you is Prelief. In addition to having Gerd and the rest, I also have Interstitial Cystitis. It is in remission to a large extent, but Prelief tablets help when you want to consume something acidic. It is intended to help relieve bladder pain from acidic food but helps some people with acidic issue from coffee as well.

    It is found at walgreens and is otc. You consume 1-3 tablets with food that you think will be an acidic trigger. I use 3.

    I have found it helpful to some extent with reflux issues, when I want to cheat and eat something on the no no list. Which for a person with IC is a lot of things. Hah! I take it with the acidic foods and feel the effects far less.

    I have gotten my sister and mom to take it. Mom likes to have it before her wine, and sister before her coffee. 

    It is a nice buffering agent, and I find helpful. Obviously check with one's doc before adding something new to the regime. 

     

  • Kathy P

    Correct, no h. pylori. EoE was not well known at the time. The procedure was done by a GI who I never actually saw prior to having it done. It was done in the surgi-center and ordered by PCP. So, they were just looking for reasons for reflux. I remember asking him after, when I was coming out of anesthesia, if he'd done biopsies looking for eosinophils and he was like "what are you talking about crazy doped up lady?"

  • K8sMom2002

    Yikes, Kathy P … it would have been much better if you could have consulted with the GI prior to the procedure. I've actually had two scopes (one when they were trying to figure out what was causing problems that eventually led to my gall bladder surgery and the other after I kept having reactions to celery.) 

    Both times I was able to see the GI before the procedure and talk through what they were looking for. I think that's very important, especially when you have unexplained symptoms. I guess I was really lucky, huh?

    Here's hoping that one day they'll be able to detect EOE without a person having to inflict damage on herself to make it evident.

    Serene, that Prelief sounds a bit like Beano. Does it just treat the symptoms or does it attack the root of the problem? Did your doctor suggest it?

  • Serene

    Prelief is a common otc med used by people with IC. I would compare it a bit to tums except better, since you take it before you have an issue not after.  Yeah, my uro doctor knows and has no issues with it. Neither does my GP or Pulm. I take it all the time prior to consuming a food that might irritate me, which there are sadly many.

    It is for everyone though, and used to handle cystitis and occasional heartburn.  Obviously people with concerns or allergies should talk to their doctors.

    As far as I know there is no med for heartburn that really gets to the root of the issue. Most meds prescribed just alter the chemistry of the body to reduce acid creation.

    For people with IC, the lining of their bladder has been compromised and sensitized to the acid of food. When prelief is eating wtih food it adds a bit of buffer to the food being consumed so it is less irritating.

    Since I am allergic to PPI's I find this is a good alternative for me.

  • K8sMom2002

    I'm so glad you have a safe alternative! It stinks to be allergic to a med that you need to take to address a medical issue. 

  • Jen

    Laura Jeanne,

    Funny thing you mention Kennedy Krieger.  I was just up there yesterday with my son – his autism doc is up there.  My older 2 have seen specialists there in the past for their ADHD.  They are fantastic with all kinds of things.

  • K8sMom2002

    Laura Jeanne, is the Nexium still helping?

    Serene, how long have you been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia? Was it before your initial asthma diagnosis?

  • Jen

    @Laura Jeanne Are you still using the nexium?

    @Serene Where do you get the prelief?

  • Serene

    Hi:

    The only place I've found prelief has been at walgreens in the heartburn medicine section. You can also buy it on Amazon.com 

     

  • K8sMom2002

    Serene, since it works for you and if that's the only place you can find it, I hope that Walgreens has lots of convenient locations for you.

    Does the prelief help just your bladder IC or does it help with the hiatal hernia as well?

  • K8sMom2002

    Laura Jeanne, does the Nexium help to control asthma flares, too? I know for some reflux is a trigger. Is it a trigger for you?

  • Serene

    Yes prelief helps my ic pain a lot. That's why I started to use it at first. I had ic before any respiratory issues.  Also helps make gerd inducing food more tolerable.

    It isn't a cure just helpful for me. I take it several times a day. So do my relatives! In fact my sister raids my purse for my prelief whenever we go to starbucks

  • K8sMom2002

    Glad it helps! I think chronic health conditions are kind of a moving target — no one silver bullet takes them down. But lots of things can make them better and give us a better quality of life. 

    That's why I love this support community — you guys share your tips and tricks, and you never know what may be something that will really help me in my day-to-day life. So thank you!