Asthma began after moving to a polluted area

My husband and I moved to an area in Southern Spain a couple of years ago, which, while very beautiful and in the countryside, was quite close to a lot of industry, including an oil refinery. We both would wake up coughing and gasping in the middle of the night after some months there, and our health continuously deteriorated from there. I developed such an awful cough and after a hike in the countryside saw my life fading away in front of me as my breathing shut down almost entirely. After many different doctors, I was finally diagnosed with eosinophilic asthma. My husband ended up hospitalized also, and diagnosed with the same thing. We have since moved from the area, but I am still in need of oral prednisone to stop the symptoms from returning. We now live in a place with clean air and a good climate, and are working on recuperating our health. I have had many parasite tests to rule out that as being a cause of my high eosinophil counts, but to date none have been found. The one thing that really helped me during a spell where I could hardly get off the couch for fatigue and shortness of breath was learning the Buteyko method. I am now enrolled in an online course to learn it well enough to help others and practice it daily. I am trained and licensed to practice Traditional Chinese Medicine, and sadly have not been able to help myself all that much. In the past I hiked everywhere, did yoga, swam and kept myself healthy and fit. Since I developed asthma there have been days I could hardly walk down the hallway. I really don’t like taking all these drugs, but simultaneously I am incredibly grateful for them – without them we might not be here! This summer I may start monoclonal antibody therapy too, but I am still hoping for an improvement so I won’t need it. I feel for all of you who have written, knowing what a terrible condition this can be. What worries me most is that asthma is becoming more and more prevalent in the world and we keep polluting the air, our food and our bodies more and more.

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Comments

View Comments (8)
  • acusailor author
    1 year ago

    Hi Janet,
    Thanks for writing! I am so sorry that you have all that suffering too. I am researching and doing everything I can to get better, and I am finally starting to feel very optimistic. The Buteyko Breathing method has helped me immensely, and so has swimming. We are lucky as we live by the sea and now it is warm enough to go swimming every morning. I don’t get any wheezing or tightness while swimming which is incredible (I could hardly walk sometimes in the recent past from breathlessness). We also ground ourselves every day (which swimming is great for too), and limit exposure to EMF as much as possible. I am eating mostly vegetables and fruit (a lot of them raw), good oils (Olive and coconut), some nuts and a bit of protein. No sugar, no wheat, no processed foods. Also I am including anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger, turmeric and garlic into my cooking and brewing teas with reishi mushrooms and tumeric. I am still taking 10 mg of oral cortisone, but I haven’t gained any weight because of the diet. I am continuing with the herbs, and I take Vitamins (C, D, B complex) and minerals (Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, Chromium, Selenium) and Omega-3 Essential fatty acids. I also am working on releasing all emotional baggage (any fears or frustrations). I am telling you all this only because I want to pass on what I think is working for me – maybe it can help you. I am so determined to help myself and others that I am hoping to build my acupuncture practice around it in the future. I too am due to start Xolaire shots – I am hoping they will work enough to allow me to finally get off the oral steroids. The steroid side effects are not something we want to endure, even though I am grateful for them, as they have saved me when I have been really poorly. Keep your chin up and get to the seaside as much as you can! Grounding (i.e. earthing) really helps too. I know our bodies can heal from anything – we just have to give them the opportunity. And get away from the pollution! All toxic things (air, food, EMF and negative people).

    Oh and one more thing for your sinuses – the Buteyko Method teaches how to clear your sinuses (using breath holds and movement) and how to start breathing through your nose. All allergens and pathogens you inhale through your mouth go into the lungs unfiltered and unsterilised and can remain in the tissues up to 120 days, exacerbating your asthma symptoms. Unless you have polyps or a deviated septum you can learn to become a nose breather again if you aren’t.

    Sorry I am going on and on… I just want you to feel better. Best to you.

  • janetg
    1 year ago

    Acusailor. Thank you,so much for writing about your experience. I, too, developed asthma after moving to a more polluted area. I have the same diagnosis as you. The worst part s that I went from being a fairly active healthy person to an old lady, in about a year. I’ve also gained tons of weight — heaviest I’ve ever been. In addition to 3 daily reading nhalers, a rescue inhaler and a nebulizer, I also get a shot of Xolair once a month. The shot is supposed to reduce the eosinophils. I haven’t tried an ant inflammatory diet, or alternative medicine yet. Also, feel the best n the middle of the ocean–any ocean– on a ship, of course, which might have something to do with the clean air and lack of pollen!!

  • janetg
    1 year ago

    Forgot: I also had sinus surgery which I thought would cure everything– haha. The joke was on me. Now, I have no sense that f smell.

  • gigigibson
    2 years ago

    Hi acusailor. I can relate fully to how the disease, the treatment (which is more to blame?!) causes such weakness and debility. It’s a disease that affects your whole body…..I never imagined it could be so debilitating. I don’t know why it struck me when it did but I have adult onset too. I have allergies but also react to chemicals, heat, cold, humidity, exertion and storms as well. I’m on the couch right now not well enough to work. My family members do all they can to take stress off me but there’s a point where we are still sick and it can’t be fixed, our bodies call the shots some days. Today I feel like a weight is on my sternum. I get sob with any movement or activity (like drinking!) and feel like my arms and legs are swollen in the joints. I feel exhausted and just “bad”. Oh, here it is…I feel like I’ve been doing too much and just sat down to catch my breath and rest except the “just sat down” feeling doesn’t subside. Make sense? So then comes the worry about what’s going on, will this pass or is it leading to a bad flare?
    I hope your new treatment will help you. Sad to hear the Chinese medicine did not work. I’ve been doing diet experimentation. I’m still on an anti inflammatory diet- 3 months now. I’d say it does help.
    Best wishes for improved health.
    Gigi

  • acusailor author
    2 years ago

    Dear Gigi,
    Thanks so much for your reply. I am so sorry that you are having such a tough time. I know just how you feel. I so wish I could help! All I can say is that the Buteyko breathing really helped me when I had a phase like you are in at the moment. I was using my rescue inhalers 5 times per day, and managed to get off needing them within one day of practicing (doing many small breath holds). It gave me back a sense of control which was so valuable to me. I am still struggling to get off the oral steroids, but I hope with patience and continued (relaxed) effort that everything I am doing will help me improve. Perhaps it would help you too? I have tried eliminating many foods also, as eating is one of my triggers (similarly to you I seem to respond to everything!). I always feel worse after lunch. I have read that raw foods have helped people with asthma. I do take some Chinese herbs that have been studied extensively to reduce eosinophils. I am not sure yet if they are helping me, but they seem to help a lot of people according to the research, and act similarly to steroids, but with fewer side effects and more benefits. Best wishes to you too and get better soon. Britta

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi acusailor and thanks so much for your candid depiction of your current health situation (and hubby’s) regarding your asthma diagnosis. It’s good to hear you’re battling back and will do everything you both have to in order to regain your health. You are always welcome here in our online community. We will look forward to your continued participation.
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    2 years ago

    It’s my pleasure to be a part of our community and to do whatever I can to assist. We’re glad you’re here too, acusailor!
    Warmly,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • acusailor author
    2 years ago

    Thanks Leon. I appreciate your reply and appreciate your efforts in helping the asthma community!

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