Mucus plugging in left lung > right in asthmatic. A concern?
I am a 28 year old female with a 14 year history of severe persistent asthma. From 9/2005 to 12/2008 I was on daily or alternate day doses of prednisone to maintain control. Since December of 2008 I required prednisone bursts 2-3 times a year due to viral infections cauing exacerbations. July of this year I ended up in the hospital for four days due to a flare that wouldn't break. My main problem was a productive cough that triggered bronchospasms and kept the cycle going. During this time it felt as if I had something 'stuck' in my left Iung and that has been a common feature since then. I have been on prednisone more than off since the beginning of July due to cough, chest discomfort and dyspnea. The cough is productive with the sputum being thick and white. I had blood flecks in it twice during my hospitalization but none since. My FEV1 is down 11% from when I left the hospital.
I am currenty on 40mg of prednisone a day, Dulera (200/5), Qvar (80mcg), Theophylline CR (just starting it again), singulair, albuterol PRN (2-3x a day), mucinex, zyrtec, rhinocorft, and achiphex. I also have gastroparesis and a possible mitochondrial disorder (confirmed mutation in mtDNA but not a typical locus need a muscle biopsy to check the electron transport chain) that has affected my muscles and nervous system.
My question is this: is there anything I should be concerned about with the feelings I have in my left lung/left side of the chest that are not there on the right? Normally it is a uniform feeling. Also, the cough is productive and the mucus is very hard to expell. I have started using the Flutter to help get it out. Is there any reason not to use the flutter in this situation?
(1) Prednisone destroys your immune system. The cure for your infections (prednisone) is likely the cause.
(2) I suffered very badly with a productive cough so bad I thought it would tear me apart until a respiratory therapist suggested Mucomyst (aceltycisteine). The cure was immediate and I have not coughed since I started using it. You might also want to try taking 500 mg of vitamin B5 daily. Like Mucomyst it thins mucus (though not as drammatically), but it also reduces inflammation. I hope you are taking 500 mg of vitamin C daily. That is also an anti-inflammatory.
For what it is worth, I found that many of my problems were actually caused by prednisone and inhaled steroids. Not only did the steroids give me what appeared to be serious bronchitis, they also wrecked my adrenal glands. Now I go the natural way, insofar as is possible, and my health and breathing are much improved. This may not work for you, but the pros and cons of steroid use are worth investigating. And don't forget to check foreign sources. Europeans are often way ahead of us.
Thanks for the suggestions. I do not want to be on prednisone, my goal is to get off of it as soon as possible. For what it is worth it is not treating an infection, it is treating an inflammtory response. What is hampering the effort to get off of it happens to be the productive cough which leads to bronchospasms that leads to more coughing which irratates my lungs more. Or so it seems. Do you have any studies showing the use of vitamin B5 for what you are describing? A quick search didn't show any uses for respiratory disorders. I already take a high dose of B2 to treat my muscle problems along with CoQ10 and levocarnitine. With my GI tract beinb senesitive I don't want to add anything without knowing why I am taking it and seeing some proof that it works for that condition.
Do yourself a favor and try the Mucomyst. I use it with a nebulizer. I don't know why pulmonologists don't recommend it routinely because it stopped the mucus and coughing dead. There wasn't even a recovery period or a tapering off.
If I had not broken my hip last may I would never have known of Mucomyst. Because I had emphysema they were being very careful about anesthesia and pain medication. My daughter was there and she told them of my coughing. The respiratory therapist recommended Mucomyst and my life changed. Doctor after doctor listened to my lungs and said "clear." I had not heard that word in 20 years. No snap, crackle and pop. No gurgling sounds. Don't let anyone talk you out of trying it. It is magical for problems such as ours.
It sounds like a chest x-ray or CT is in order, possibly a bronchoscopy to really get an idea of what is going on. Then truly effective treatment can be planned.
The flutter should be helpful. I am assuming you are referring to a flutter wheel that you blow into and it sends back a percussive pulse that is to losen the congestion. It has a similar effect as a cystic fibrosis shake vest or percussion therapy.
There are many other things that could be the problem that it will help diagnose - pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, foreign object... Since the symptom is one sided, there is something unique on the left side. COPD is usually bilateral.
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