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Asthma + Allergies + Low Oxygen Level
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Asthma + Allergies + Low Oxygen Level

My Husband, 26 yrs old, has had Asthma since he was ~ 5 yrs old.  He's also always been allergic to dust, and animals with furr (which I'm learning is what collects the dust).  He has always been known for ALWAY sneezing, blowing his nose, and needing his inhaler.  He just started going to an Allergist Dr, for the first time in his life, to get the Allergy Shots.  When they first did the breathing test, he came at only 25%.  They had to put him on a steriod med and tested him a week later.  He was at 35%.  So they gave him more steriod, and had him come back the following week.  He was at 50%.  At that appointment, they can him a strong dose (Can't remember what) and had him wait a half hour.  After that they re did the test and he was at 75%.  They were excited, and had him take the steriods a couple more days.  After that, they set up an appointment for 2 weeks later for the shots, assuming he would be above 90% (appointment was yesterday).  He went in with his sneezing and plugged nose, so they did a test again, and sure enough, he was back down to 40%!!!  The Dr didn't have a good feeling about his condition at all, and obviously didn't give him the shot.  So they sent to get a CT Scan & Blood work, but didn't want to say why (making us assume it's not going to be good news).  She knows we're tight on money (like everyone else), but we would like to get an idea of what the possibilies are.  Is there way I can't get possible ideas on what he can have?  The test don't come back until this weekend, which are making his anxioty above the roof...
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242587_tn?1355427710
First and most important.  The response of your husband’s lungs to, what I presume to be, high dose steroids is very encouraging; very good news.  It indicates that the obstruction to air flow (the prime characteristic of asthma) is, at least in part, reversible.  Another way of saying this is that he does not appear to have the fixed, irreversible obstruction to airflow that, fortunately, occurs in a very small percentage of individuals with asthma.  

Having said that, the information you have provided suggests that, by most conventional standards, he has severe asthma with a significant allergic component.  You make no mention of baseline asthma therapy (in addition to the steroids given by the allergist).  Given the severity of his asthma, he should have, at minimum, been taking a combination inhalant drug such as Advair or Symbicort.  Were he not on inhalation, prior to the allergist’s prescription of steroids, it might have been prudent to have initiated therapy with such drugs, concurrently with the steroids and it might still might not be too late to do that, if he is still taking the steroids.

In addition, it is very often difficult if not impossible to achieve and maintain good asthma control (e.g. >75%) if the nasal and sinus disease is not treated optimally.  That means complete eradication of any and all nasal polyps, followed by the use of an inhaled nasal steroid and nasal washes (irrigation) along with a non-sedating anti-histamine.  

In addition to the preceding, should be stringent avoidance of all irritants, dust and all other substances to which he has proven to be allergic, both at home and at work.  This is referred to environmental control and requires removal of all animals (including birds) from his home environment.

If his asthma remains uncontrolled, despite strict adherence to the pharmacologic therapy and environmental control, here are two suggestions:

1. Ask his allergist if your husband might be a candidate for anti-IgE therapy.

2. Request consultation at one of two major medical centers, with a focus on severe, difficult-to-control asthma.
      a.  National Jewish Health in Denver Colorado – The Division of Adult Allergy and Asthma
      b.  The University of Pittsburgh (PA.) Medical Center – the UPMC Comprehensive Lung Center – Director Dr. Sally Wenzel  

I note your mention of being “tight on money.”  Given your husband’s young age, the impact of his illness on the two of you and the possibility of permanent irreversible lung damage if his asthma is not well controlled, I strongly recommend that you do whatever is necessary to gain control of his asthma, be it with the assistance of his current allergist or specialists at one of the centers listed above, even should you have to beg or borrow the money to do it.  This is no time to procrastinate..  

Good luck
3 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I also forgot to mention that he has never smoked, done drugs, or drinks alcohal (alcohol).
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757137_tn?1347200053
I had to get off steroids because of serious side effects. I substuted 1000 mg. of vitamin B5, mullein extract, and MSM which I take daily. They are anti-inflammatory and the B5 is a very effective mucolytic. It got rid of my sinus headaches. There are no side effects. For the worst of my allergies I was treated by a physician/kinesiologist. Quick and effective. Much better than the usual allergy treatments.
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