5 More Asthma Myths Worth Noting
Here are 5 more myths debunked
- If you’re diagnosed before the age of 2 it goes away. But, if diagnosed after the age of 2, you don’t outgrow it. Um… I heard this one from a dad of a six-year-old kid. The dad said the child was diagnosed at the age of two. So, she was told it would not go away. True. But asthma is rarely diagnosed before the age of two. It can be if there’s a family history. But, children under the age of two cannot perform pulmonary function tests. So, it’s difficult to diagnose asthma prior to the age of two. But, if it is diagnosed, it won’t go away. Asthma doesn’t just go away. It can be controlled, but it doesn’t go away. If it does, then it wasn’t asthma. If it does, it was probably some other illness that mimics asthma.
- Asthma causes COPD. I’ve heard this three times at work just this past week. I’ve also heard it from members of this community. It is true that some asthma subgroups are similar to COPD. But, they are rare. It happens when airway scarring occurs making airways chronically narrow. This is similar to what happens with COPD, but it’s not COPD. That said, your risk for developing COPD may be increased if you have asthma. This is because asthma genes may also cause COPD. But, this probably won’t happen unless you’re exposed to certain environmental triggers. One example of an environmental trigger than may cause COPD is chemicals in cigarette smoke. Another is chemicals in the air at your work. So, this is why it is so important to be leery of what you are inhaling. Still, it’s important to know that asthma on its own will not cause COPD.
- You’ll become tolerant to albuterol over time. If this were true, albuterol would be useless for me. I started taking it in 1985. I started using an albuterol inhaler in 1985. I started using albuterol solution in 1991. And, I had asthma pretty bad back then. Like, I used it a lot. Like, I went through an inhaler a week for many years. This was my life before my asthma was finally controlled in the 2000s. And I still use albuterol sometimes. And it still works. So, this myth is tested from time to time by researchers. And they were never able to prove it. So, I think it’s safe to say that you do not become tolerant to albuterol over time.
- Some inhalers can only be used for COPD, not asthma. It is true that some medicines are only approved for COPD. But, once approved by the FDA, a medicine can legally be prescribed for any disorder. A term for this is off-label.1 For example, Breo was initially only approved for COPD. But, my doctor prescribed it for me, an asthmatic. That’s legal. That’s allowed. Eventually, Breo was also approved for asthma. But, doctors don’t have to deprive patients of medicine that might help them while waiting for it to be approved for a specific diagnosis. So, it is legal to use a COPD medicine for asthma, and vice versal.
- It must be awful having a disease where you’re short of breath all the time. Well, there is truth to that. Some asthmatics may be short of breath all the time. But, most of us are able to obtain good asthma control. This means asthma attacks are rare and easy to reverse when they do occur. This means we are able to breathe normally most of the time.
What to make of this? Numbers 1-4 were actual statements from asthmatics just like you and me. Number 5 was a statement from a non-asthmatic friend.
Do you get muscle cramps caused by your asthma medicine?