Identifying trends

Has anyone ever looked at months/years past side by side with numbers and any notes you made about what was going on a particular day (weather change/exposure to paint fumes etc) to see it you could identify any trends on what flares you off or maybe why you were having a bad time at a particular time?  I've always kept notes and my numbers but over the last week, have just now made the time to put everything in excel side by side, month by month, year by year and I've been able to at least reinforce what I thought kicked me off-weather is a definite, stress and lack of sleep are definite and exposure to fumes. I was able to see in black and white, how my lungs reacted to med changes too (I always note when I make any changes to meds).  It really slapped me in the face how badly I need my meds twice a day!   I also saw that 5 years ago, my numbers were significantly better but that was when I was very active in martial arts three nights a week for 2+ hours each night.  I've lost lung capacity over the past 3 years but since I changed jobs, got out of the stress and get more rest (sometimes), 2017 is rebounding and is running higher numbers overall by month than last year.

Has anyone else ever looked at things like this to see if you could identify anything??


Comments 10

  • K8sMom2002

    Lynn, this is fabulous information! Knowledge is power! So what changes do you think you'll be making? Do you think that trying to add back in a little martial arts or yoga as a start would help?

    I haven't looked at asthma numbers — mainly because for the most part, DD and I have been blessed with asthma that is controllable  by strictly avoiding triggers and only has spectacular flares when we either get around a trigger or we have a URI/sinus infection. 

    BUT keeping detailed info like that was the key to solving my DD's bleeding disorder/corn allergy mystery. Her nosebleeds would be fast and furious and we couldn't figure out anything to do but to take high powered meds to stop the bleeds. I was desperate to avoid that if we could. 

    Seeing long term trends like you described is what led us to the allergist to begin with. And when we pulled corn, it was like magic. The nosebleeds stopped. It makes sense now — the corn was creating sores and inflammation in her mucous membranes, and the bleeding disorder wasn't allowing those sores to heal. 

    on doing all that number crunching!

  • Shea

    Trying to find trends I find daunting but soooo helpful. Omg, it is like the best feeling to know what is causing something! It was so great when I KNEW it was dander, and second-hand dander for me…. lifesaving! And it is great to pin these other practices like martial arts to positives too! 

  • K8sMom2002

    Shea, how did you track your reactions to dander early on? Did you keep a log or a journal?

    Lynn, how will you approach making changes based on your look back at trends?

  • Pljohns

    I was able to see that  I DO need my meds twice a day and not just once, I need to be more careful around cold weather and making the job change to less stress has definitely helped.  All of last year was pretty bad-bad boss, 60+ hr work weeks, construction on new clinic-landed in the hospital 4 times, but so far 2017 is already better than 2016 was.  I think without the side by side numbers, it wouldn't have been so clear that I do much better on meds twice daily and weather plays a huge role for me.

  • K8sMom2002
    Pljohns posted:

    All of last year was pretty bad-bad boss, 60+ hr work weeks, construction on new clinic-landed in the hospital 4 times, but so far 2017 is already better than 2016 was.

    Woohoo on improvement! And so glad to hear that you have a solid plan for improving things even more!

  • K8sMom2002

    Is anyone else tracking their asthma? If so, what sort of system do you use? Pen and paper? A spreadsheet? An app?

  • Shea

    Initially, it was pretty easy making the cat dander connection, as I would wheeze within 10 minutes of being in  a home with cat and have a stuffy nose and sneeze sneeze sneeze… And have to take benadryl and leave and shower and take 3 days to return to normal. Buuuuut, i started singulair before moving in with a boyfriend who owned cats and a dog, and Singular "controlled" the allergies. Whatever. I thought it was a miracle drug and was so happy I could magically be around cats with no wheezing, sneezing. A year later my body is swarming with allergic blood cells called eosinophils, and the allergic symptoms were all muddled into chronic asthma and steroid-dependence, and that–chronic exposure to high levels of allergens poorly medicated by doctors who missed flag after flag— caused a heart attack from eosinophils choking my heart and a serious disabling chronic allergic disease. I just–never want to do that again… Medicate symptoms…. I want to AVOID the allergen!!. Anyways, I became even more sensitive to dander (secondhand dander) after my heart attack and diagnosis of CSS.. And that I DID have a harder time pinning that down. Everything was more severe. If a dog touched me, I broke out into hives immediately. If I sat next to a cat-owner, my asthma worsened badly, almost anaphylactic, and my cheeks got flushed, I needed breathing treatment and benadryl. I could not walk into a home with just dogs anymore– I used to only slightly allergic to dogs, but now severely. Then, learning about cat and dog dander, its prevalence, and its effect on others with asthma and allergies, and the effect of heightened I've allergic reactions causing a worsened prognosis in those with CSS, made the world a scarier place to me. Being in a dander-free home, with hepa-filtration, and no visitors in my home who reside with cats and dogs…all has helped and showed up in better blood tests, less symptoms, less need of medications… Then nucala has helped my body cope with the environments I cannot control, and hopefully will help me manage on less prednisone. And masks when around and cat/dog owners and also with mall perfumes and scents theybusevon clothing, helps the asthma reactions, and that is noticeable more immediately. But, dander is tough to deal with.. It is tough socially, and emotionally, for me. 

  • K8sMom2002

    I know it must be extremely difficult to deal with — people don't understand that allergies fall on a spectrum. Some are the allergies that we see on antihistamine commercials — just an "achoo!" during the spring or fall. 

    Others are like yours — extremely serious and nothing to play around with. Hugs on having to deal with this — you take care of yourself and your kiddo in a terrific way, and you've shown with all your cute lizard/reptile pets that you CAN have pets and allergies, too!

  • Jen

    What other ways do people track their asthma? How has information on symptoms, medications, etc helped you manage your asthma?

  • K8sMom2002

    Jen, when I finally made the connection between changes in barometric pressure and my asthma, it was eye-opening. But I wouldn't have known to look for that connection if I hadn't read the AAFA blog posts about and .