My girlfriend suffers from chronic asthma, which has resulted in nearly annual hospital stays. She found a specialist that seemed to have a temporary solution- daily Advair and Singulair medication (high dose) and Prednisone treatments every few months during recurring problems.
She has been experiencing extreme depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, loss of energy, to the point that she has lost a job and finds it hard to even get up for the day, which has compounded the psychological effects. I come from a science background so I understand the concept of 'correlation does not equal causation' and the issue still awaits clinical proof, however she was an extremely motivated hard working person before being put on the high doses of asthma medications.
For the sake of helping her through these times, I would love for her to be able to try to slowly reduce the dosages (some of the medications cause a backlash if stopped abruptly) just to see if there would be a positive effect on the psychological side. Unfortunately we live in an area with above average humidity and allergen levels that spike to extremes. She is afraid to get off of the drugs, justifiably, because without an alternative she could end up in the hospital again hooked up to a breathing machine, which is traumatic enough on its own.
The first option that I could see is to find alternative controls for her, even if the psychological effects are unrelated to the drugs, persistent use of steroids is probably bad for her body, and she is not even 25 yet and has been using them for years now.
The second option would be to move to an area of the US that has lower than average humidity and lower levels of allergens. If she could live in an area without the asthma triggers, presumably she might not need to be on the drugs at all, or could reduce the dosages to levels that could have less negative side effects.
I would like to know if anyone else has been in a similar situation, what their solution or attempts were, and how successful they were. Are their viable alternatives to the steroid, Singulair, Advair (and similar chemical) solutions? Could a move to a dry place with less mold spores and pollen be the answer? She is still working with the doctors, of course, but a few have admitted that she is the worst case they have seen and I hope to find a little advice from anyone else that has faced similar hurdles or even advice from people with other ideas. I apologize for the extreme length of this post but it seemed necessary to cover all the details. Thank you for reading though, and let me know your thoughts!
I'm sorry to hear your girlfriend is suffering so from asthma! I have adult onset and have been on meds now for probably 8 years or so. I take Advair, Atrovent and Singulair plus have a rescue inhaler. Thankfully, mine is pretty well under control. The daily meds keep the inflammation in the airways down, so I would think that tapering off the meds as long as the asthma is not necessarily under control would not be a good idea! I understand the desire to be off the meds, though! Who wants to take all that nasty stuff?!
A few questions: Has she been tested for allergies? If she has not, that would be most worthwhile. Knowing your triggers can help prevent attacks. The other question is - has she had any counseling for her depression and/or is she on an antidepressant? Dealing with the limitations of asthma at her age could certainly be cause for depression. There are some really good treatments out there. I've been there, done that as well! A chemical imbalance in the brain can wreak havoc on your emotions!
I also live in a damp area although we don't suffer with the high humidity. I personally do breathe a little easier when it is drier. Every fall, when the air turns cooler and the rains return, I end up with some sort of bronchitis or something!
Best wishes for your girlfriend. Good for you for seeking some answers for her.
Hi J, also sorry to read the devastation that these meds have wreaked on your girlfriend. My daughter had acute bronchial asthma at the tender age of two and was on daily, regular meds as well as albuterol for rescue meds and steroids for lungs and through the nose for chronic allergic rhinitis.
After 5 years of nonsense with these high dosages of meds and no long term results, we finally found the answer in salt therapy aka "halotherapy" or "speleotherapy" (cave salt therapy). She now inhales twice a day for a total of 20 minutes through a natural, organic mineral salt inhaler called a salt pipe. I would check out the research and studies on http://www.saltrocks.org for more information. It may be that it initially helps to curve the meds or the need for so much or, as in our daughter's case, cut them out altogether.
If you're considering a move, the best place for respiratory patients to live is on or near the beach because the salty air is therapeutic for the lungs. Most people can't afford to do that though, so the mobile mineral mine (salt pipe) is what the doctor should order!
Thank you for your post!!! I just had my first hospitalization and iv steroids for over a week. Now I am weaning from HIGH doeses of Prednisone, Qvar, Singular, Abuterol. Every answer is more medicine to deal with effects of other medicine and I want to throw something (or someone).
I am moving to the beach next spring and am very excited to see your research proves out my anticdotal experience of relieved breathing at the beach. And I will look into the mineral mine salt pipe for relief to get me from here to there!!!
Avair and prednisone cause adrenal fatigue, a condition hard to correct. Singulair is also bad news. Look up side effects on the internet and particularly the FDA warning. Adrenal fatigue can only be cured through alternative medicine.
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