Sunday, July 24, 2011
Stress is a common asthma trigger. An asthma trigger is anything that brings on asthma symptoms. When you have stress and asthma, you might feel short of breath, anxious, and even panicked. Stress may cause your asthma symptoms to worsen and cause you to feel frightened.
When stress levels start to creep upward -- whether it's over bills, work, or your kids' jam-packed calendar -- asthma symptoms can kick into overdrive. As the wheezing and coughing gets worse, your health becomes one more reason to worry. Asthma, stress, and anxiety make for a vicious circle, and one that can spiral downward quickly.
With persistent asthma, you have symptoms more than once a week, but not constantly. Treating persistent asthma requires long-term maintenance therapy, such as an inhaled steroid, plus rescue therapy when something triggers symptoms. And when your symptoms are out of control (in the red zone, a severe asthma attack), prednisone for asthma might be necessary for a few days. The problem is that prednisone often causes mood swings as a side effect, adding fuel to the anxiety fire.
Remember, prednisone is a short-term treatment for most people with asthma. After you finish taking the "burst" of oral steroids, your mood will return to normal. Inhaled steroids don't cause permanent mood changes.
If your long-term asthma medication doesn't work well, and wheezing and chest tightness occur too often, a vicious circle can begin where anxiety worsens asthma, and asthma worsens anxiety. That's when you need to talk to your doctor about your symptoms, triggers, and stress. Also discuss other asthma treatment options that can get your asthma under control again, so you can prevent symptoms of asthma.
While there is no quick fix for your runny or congested nose, antihistamines and decongestants continue to be some of the most widely used medicines for allergy relief.
But how do you know if an antihistamine or a decongestant will give you allergy relief? Who should use these allergy relief medicines -- and who should avoid them?
Why are antihistamines used for allergy relief?
Why are antihistamines used for allergy relief?
Allergies occur when the body’s immune cells release a chemical called histamine in response to contact with an allergen. Histamine is one of the chemicals that causes swelling of the membranes in the nose and increases mucus.
When histamine is released during an allergic reaction, you may have symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing, swollen nasal passages, weepy eyes, and nasal stuffiness.
While antihistamines cannot cure your allergy symptoms, they do block the effect of histamine and give you some allergy relief. Antihistamines help relieve such miserable symptoms as sneezing, itching, and nasal discharge. They may also help relieve nasal congestion, and skin and eye symptoms.
Your doctor may prescribe short-acting antihistamines, which are taken every four to six hours. There are also timed-release antihistamines that you can take every 12 or 24 hours.
For years, herbalists have touted bee pollen as an exceptionally nutritious food. They've even claimed it is a cure for certain health problems. Yet after years of research, scientists still cannot confirm that bee pollen has any health benefits.
What Is Bee Pollen?
Bee pollen contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids, and protein. It comes from the pollen that collects on the bodies of bees. Bee pollen may also include bee saliva.
It's important to avoid confusing bee pollen with natural honey, honeycomb, bee venom, or royal jelly. These products do not contain bee pollen.
How Is Bee Pollen Used?
Bee pollen is available at many health food stores. You may find bee pollen in other natural dietary supplements as well as in skin softening products used for baby's diaper rash or eczema.
You may also hear recommendations for using bee pollen for alcoholism, asthma, allergies, health maintenance, or stomach problems. But before you take any natural product for a health condition, check with your doctor.
Bee pollen is also recommended by some herbalists to enhance athletic performance, reduce side effects of chemotherapy, and improve allergies and asthma.
At this point, medical research has not shown that bee pollen is effective for any of these health concerns.
Is Bee Pollen Safe?
Bee pollen appears to be safe, at least when taken for a short term. But if you have pollen allergies, you may get more than you bargained for. Bee pollen can cause a serious allergic reaction -- including shortness of breath, hives, swelling, and anaphylaxis.
Bee pollen is not safe for pregnant women. A woman should also avoid using bee pollen if she is breastfeeding
Asthma may increase your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease, shows new research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in San Francisco.
The common denominator between these conditions appears to be inflammation, according to researchers led by Young J. Juhn, MD, MPH, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Juhn and colleagues followed 2,392 people with asthma and 4,784 people without asthma from 1964 to 1983. People with asthma were at higher risk for developing diabetes and heart disease, but not inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis, the study showed.
Specifically, the diabetes rate in people without asthma was 104 per 100,000 people compared to 138.4 per 100,000 people among those with asthma. For heart disease, the rate in people without asthma was 134 per 100,000 people vs. 188.6 per 100,000 among those participants with asthma.
“While it’s important for clinicians to be aware of the increased risks of coronary artery disease and diabetes in asthmatics, these findings should be interpreted cautiously given the preliminary nature,” Juhn says in a news release. “Given the significant proportion of people affected by asthma, we need to continue to carefully monitor the potential impact of asthma epidemiology on the epidemiology of other chronic diseases.”