I have several ailments, and after years of ignoring them I'm finally beginning to deal with them. Even tho' I'm now seeing doctors and specialists we all know it's good to get 2nd or 3rd opinions. I'd like your general advice on how best to handle these ailments. I'll describe what I'm doing already, with notes on which medication I'm taking and which conditions have actually been diagnosed...but if there is some extra good advice to be had I'm all for it.
I am male, 33 years, 173cm and 82kg (live in Germany). My diet and physical activity is average (cycle most days...consume meat, veg, bread...some sweets...lots of water and tea...modest alcohol maybe once or twice a week...no recreational drugs).
- diagnosed chronic asthma: used Salbutamol 2-8 times per day for 25 years, now starting to use Symbicort/Viani (since middle-2011) which has dramatically reduced the times I need Salbutamol.
- forget to breathe while falling asleep. Since using Symbicort/Viani my brain seemingly forgets to breathe while drifting off to sleep. This is more horrible than any asthma attack. I've experimented with giving these up and it does seem to improve, but then the asthma is even worse than it was before I started taking them. After a bit of googling it seems to be either Central Sleep Apnea or Odine's Curse (not diagnosed yet, but I am picking up a breathing-measurement device which will measure my breathing pattern...apparently this data will decide if I need a sleep lab appointment).
- permanent blocked/runny nose: 10-50 times per day I blow my nose, and it always has gunk in it. I also sneeze 5-20 times every day, regardless of season. Had this problem since about 15 years. Not seen a specialist yet. Mainstream nose sprays and the like haven't helped. I guess I need a MRT/CT scan and maybe an operation to get the adenoids out.
- high-level allergies to all sorts...I've had allergy tests and I'm quite extreme to stuff like dust, bed-mites, grass, trees, cats/dogs and the like. This obviously causes problems with my nose & asthma. Don't know how to fix this, other than try to avoid the allergens.
- diagnosed Hashimoto's disease: hypothyroiditis. This was diagnosed 3 or 4 years ago. An X-Ray of my thyroid gland revealed that my gland is all scratched and looking not good at all. After a couple more blood tests my doctors were confused about what to do next as the ratings were not consistent with hypothyroidism on some level I didn't quite understand...I've since ignored this issue (stupid of me, i know). But am now dealing with it again. Off to see an endocrinologist today. Maybe my sleep-breathing disorder is a symptom of this (and the new Asthma meds just amplify it).
- feeling of water in my ears...since a few years too. I pop my ears daily by holding my nose and mouth and blowing out, but this doesn't really help. After some googling it could be an ancient ear infection, a condition called Labyrinthitis sounds suspect. I guess I need to see the same specialist who would look at my nose.
- teeth issues: old cheap silver fillings need replacing. I have dentist appointments now, the last time she said I need a couple of filling-replacements, possible root treatment and the wisdom teeth probably need to come out.
- Exploding Head Syndrome. No joke, this exists...google it. There's a brilliant google entry with a blog and 600 reader comments. So I'm thankfully not alone. No cure or treatment, tho'.
- permanent chronic fatigue/exhaustion, since many years. Well, it's no wonder I suffer from that with the above issues...not sleeping well just exacerbates the problem. It's extremely rare I sleep normally...I tend to wake up every hour or two with a symptom of one of the above ailments. My mouth gets really dry too so I also get woken up by need-for-water or need-for-toilet.
- permanent feeling of head pressure, also since many years. It's not a headache, but it's a constant permanent pressure...as if plates or hands are pushing down my brain from all sides, but also a feeling that there is a lot of thick gooey slime in my head. This may be caused by a combination of my nose problem, asthma, my ear problem, grinding my teeth a lot and teeth issues generally.
- belly abnormally big...like a beer belly, it looks pregnant...inflated, like when you see a poor starving african child on those TV charity events. So many people comment on how odd my belly looks that I'm wondering if it's more than your average beer gut...what kind of body defects cause such an inflated stomach? It's been noticable for 6 or 7 years now, and I don't get stomach pains or constipation. My stool is normal. My belly doesn't abnormally rumble. Maybe there's nothing wrong here and I just need to focus on stomach exercises.
- knee pain behind the knee-cap since 6 months. From googling it sounds like a miniscus rupture...I should see an orthopedic.
Well...a whole bunch of stuff. The most pressing concern is when I don't breathe while drifting off into sleep. My lung specialist is adamant that the Symbicort/Viani can't be related, but my own tests seem to confirm some kind of relation.
Dealing with all this is going to be a huge epic pain in the arse but it's absolutely essential I feel better during the waking days, as my life quality is rubbish at the moment. I can't organise or do much at all...it's a wonder I still manage to go into work (tho' I do take the odd day off sick...as a freelancer this costs me money, and costs my company time, which makes me appear unreliable).
So any input from you on top of what I'm already trying to do with all these different health specialists in my city of Berlin would be very useful. Just pick one ailment if you have something to add...I obviously don't expect anyone to have all the answers to everything :))
Regarding alternative treatments: I've looked into things like Qigong, low-carb-high-fat diets, psychological evaluation and homeopathy...but I'm unconvinced that any of these things could make a meaningful difference to real physical ailments. But I'm open to think otherwise if some of you have made good experience.
Thanks for reading and greets from Germany,
I am so sorry to read that you have so many issues going on. It must be frustrating. I have some suggestions...
Sounds like you are on the right track on the sleep/breathing issue. You might need a CPAP to help you breathe while you sleep.
I have had terrible allergies also, and have found relief from allergy shots (helped desensitize me), using a neti pot to flush out my sinuses (must use sterile water to avoid infection), and also acupuncture. (The time that I did accupuncture was my best allergy season in 15 years.)
Abdominal issues and bloating without gas can sometimes be caused by a yeast buildup in the gut. This can be detected through a stool sample. Also, gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease can cause abdominal issues. Both yeast and gluten sensitivity can also cause chronic fatigue. Have you been tested for either?
Here is one more thought... Have you been tested for Borreliosis? It can cause chronic sinusitis, a feeling of water in the ears, fatigue, head pressure, difficulty focusing, sleep disturbances, joint pain (esp the knees), abdominal and digestive problems, hypothyroid, and even breathing issues. It can cause shortness of breath and make it difficult to fill your lungs ("air hunger"), making your asthma worse. It can cause Vit B12, Vit D, and magnesium deficiencies, so supplementing these can help relieve symptoms.
I don't know anything aout 'Exploding Head Syndrome' (just have to smile at the name), but it sounds like it goes under the category of sleep disturbances.
Are you taking thyroid medication? Even if you are you may not be optimally treated. This is common unfortunately as the average doctors treats hypothyroidism based on TSH numbers and if you are lucky they may check free T4 levels.
A more comprehensive panel includes TSH, free T4, free T3, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies TPO and TgAb. Free T3 and free T4 level are usually recommended around 50% - 80% of the reference range but this is a guide. Everyone is different and symptoms rule the show.
Selenium is shown to lower TPO antibodies in clinical trials. Anecdotally, a gluten free diet can help lower TgAb antibodies.
Excerpt from Sensible Alternative - Thyroid Disease...
"Thyroid antibodies cause symptoms even when thyroid reading is normal
"...it raises the possibility that optimal doses of thyroid hormone will not completely ameliorate all symptoms" - Dr Emerson (editor of journal Thyroid)
New research has shown that Hashimoto's patients with high thyroid antibodies report more symptoms than patients with low thyroid antibodies, even if their thyroid function test is normal. In other words, thyroid replacement is not enough to ameliorate symptoms of autoimmune thyroid disease. (5)
Untreated thyroid disease leads to heart disease, muscle weakness, poor mental function, and an increased risk for cancer. Some experts believe that it may be responsible for 40% of unexplained cases of fatigue, depression, weight gain and infertility (6)."
There may be other medical causes but the following symptoms (from your list) are listed symptoms of hypothyroidism...
Chronic fatigue/exhaustion. The number one symptom of hypothyroidism. Nutrient deficiencies found with hypothyroidism that also cause chronic fatigue/exhaustion include vitamin D, vitamin B12, magnesium, iron. Adrenal fatigue is also common with hypothyroidism.
Allergies or worsening of allergies which can also be a result of low cortisol. Cortisol is an adrenal hormone.
Nutrient deficiencies. Any number of deficiency symptoms can show up with hypothyroidism. Nutrients deficiency more commonly noted include vitamin D, iron, vitamin B12, folate, potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin A, zinc. Vitamin D deficiency increases asthma severity as shown in a clinical trial and is linked to allergies.
Sleep apnea which can also be associated with low cortisol.
Fluid retention (and/or bloating).
Excessive tartar buildup and cavities.
Ear issues such as fluid on the ear, excessive ear wax, tinnitus.
Excerpt from Dr Derry from his article Topic: Asthma and Thyroid Hormones on the About website...
"In the mid 1980s I had a chronic asthma patient who developed an inflammation of his thyroid. After consultation with an endocrinologist he was put on Eltroxine (T4). One day when the patient came in later he mentioned that the thyroid treatment improved his asthma considerably.
At the same time, my office receptionist had severe asthma since the age 12 requiring constant medications and multiple hospital visits. She knew about the results on this patient, she asked if she could try thyroid as well. I started her on 180 mg of desiccated thyroid and within a month raised her to 250 mg. This was in about 1986. She has been free of asthma symptoms since then. She still takes some medication occasionally but has not been in hospital for asthma since.
Encouraged by these results, I proceeded to work my way through all of my chronic asthma patients. At the time there were 22 severe asthmatics who came into my office on a regular basis for asthma attacks. Some came into the office once a month (or more often when in trouble) and some twice a year. Over about a 2-3 year period I gradually put all of them on desiccated thyroid. All patients improved tremendously.
I would not say all of them were completely cured but the improvement was striking. Two things followed from this. By 1990 all asthma patients were on thyroid and thus from 1990 to 2002, I did not see another acute asthma attack in my office and none of these 22 patients came in for their asthma. The other slightly embarrassing problem was for a few months my waiting room became quite slow because of the absence of these asthma patients."
No problem! :) I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis and i have read a lot of books and articles on the subject. Allergy wise i'm not too bad but i don't do well with a lot of lactose. I don't drink milk anyway so that isn't a major problem.
I was diagnosed with asthma many years ago as i was wheezing with every breath. When i corrected my vitamin B12 and magnesium deficiency the wheezing improved a lot; more notably with the magnesium but to some degree with B12. To add, hospitals give IV magnesium therapy for acute asthma attacks. I too have vitamin D deficiency again. I find it very hard to keep levels up. I have plenty of mucus from it right now ugh! :)
You have sleep,breathing, fatigue,big belly and thyroid issues and have compiled a very informative list of symptoms.I have something to help the body fight some of the issues. This works gradually, so over weeks and months you will notice some benefit. Keep notes when you notice a benefit and review your symptoms regularly.
The guideline for you is:
Do kapalbhati for 30 minutes, twice a day.
Do anulom vilom for 30 minutes, twice a day.
Do ujjayi 21 times daily, and 7 times a second time, if you can.
When you are better, you can do kapalbhati and aulom vilom for 15 minutes, once a day ,for life, to stay healthy.
Build up your timing gradually.If you feel tired or dizzy, stop and resume after one minute.
Kapalbhati pranayam -(Do it before eating) Push air forcefully out through the nose about once per second. Stomach will itself go in(contract in). The breathing in(through the nose) will happen automatically. Establish a rhythm and do for 20 to 30 minutes twice a day. Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
Not for pregnant women. Seriously ill people do it gently.
Anulom Vilom pranayam –
Close your right nostril with thumb and deep breath-in through left nostril
then – close left nostril with two fingers and breath-out through right nostril
then -keeping the left nostril closed deep breath-in through right nostril
then - close your right nostril with thumb and breath-out through left nostril.
This is one cycle of anulom vilom.
Repeat this cycle for 15 to 30 minutes twice a day.
Children under 15 years – do 5 to 10 minutes twice a day.
You can do this before breakfast/lunch/dinner or before bedtime or in bed.Remember to take deep long breaths into the lungs.You can do this while sitting on floor or chair or lying in bed.
Procedure: While breathing in, tighten throat(contract glotis) and there will be sound from back of throat, then drop chin(rest chin on chest), hold breath as long as possible.Then chin up, close right nostril and slowly breath out through left nostril.
Duration: 5 – 21 times
How to do Ujjayi
When you clear your throat, you tighten your throat and breath out, twice, with a pause in between. . Now if you reverse this, that is, tighten the throat and breath in continuously for abour 8 to 12 seconds, then hold your breath for 4 seconds with the chin down, then chin up, close right nostril and slowly breath out through left nostril, you have just done Ujjayi pranayam.You will feel like coughing initially.
May 2 ,2012
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