Comment re. humidity and cool summers as major factors in development of asthma (not problematic births.) Only one or two European papers suggest that there is 20% to 30% more asthma among people who had surgically assisted births. My great grandfather had asthma so serious in Plymouth it drove him to suicide. I doubt he had caesarean birth. Now I have developed asthma since moving to Plymouth and my GP's nurse said that the climate here did the same thing to her. Humidity on cold-sea coasts seems to impair the quality of air in older buildings; I had no asthma on the warm Indian Ocean coast in South Africa, even in old buildings.
COLD-SEA coast humidity and cooler summers, not bacterial deficiency, have given me asthma:
Before moving to Plymouth in 2004 (where I first began to notice asthma occasionally in 2008, after taking a bath), I only ever had one true asthma attack: on a bus in Cape Town in 1970. The western Cape is distinct from the rest of southern Africa in having wet winters with strong winds. The Jo'burg area, on a high plateau, has bone dry winters (or used to!) and there I completely forgot about asthma. I also had no asthma in Iowa (11 years), where people buy humidifiers in the winter (although I did react to an old carpet in a rented room, during a warm, humid summer - their summers are noticeably humid.)
I felt that 1. The documentary encourages a preoccupation with quality of birth. 2. It was not logical to conclude that people need to "re-engage" with bacterial "old friends" by eating probiotics and exploring "pre-biotic re-engagement". They had said already said that there's no way to compensate for having missed 'the education of the immune system' that the baby normally receives during birth; it was indulgent to spend the rest of the programme campaigning to get kids 'dirty' with "pre-biotic" bacteria in the garden (would anyone want a child to catch tetanus?)
(Let's not forget that scientists work in an environment where publishing papers is the key means for career survival. The NHS doesn't routinely ask asthma patients if they had assisted births, so we cannot readily test the European idea.)
Natural remedies - their helpfulness was noticed before the daily asthma became severe.
22/11/2012: Much colder weather has arrived and it's getting harder to suppress my asthma with natural interventions. I have begun to use my Reliever for occasional stubborn episodes.
27/12/2013: So far so good; very few asthmatic incidents now. Full length pyjamas and a small light plastic tarp on the bed seems to have helped me get back to a state where I hardly think about the asthma now (as well as an electric blanket before bedtime.)
08/03/2014: I have almost no asthma now except a little on the bicycle on cold damp nights, - manageable without using reliever. However, since I stopped using the Preventer steroid in January last year, I recently had one blackout that was very similar to those when using the pump. I had taken 1/3rd of a 99mg potassium supplement pill to see if it improved my sleep. The next morning I had a blackout while drinking coffee at home. The potassium lowers blood pressure significantly. I feel more certain than ever that the steroid was bringing me the blackouts by interfering with my b.p. ('Have started eating banana in the evening before bed and found that they have a good effect. Even if I do wake up in the night, it's less disruptive and easier to get back to sleep.)
06/04/14 Looking back to October, that was a scary time of severe wheezing and sudden asthma attacks when getting into bed. All my advice to be cautious with steroid meds seemed to be looking foolish. However, using the foods suggested by Health.com did have results, even if it was a case of trying one after the other and not always getting the same result. Then it all stopped quite suddenly, the croaky wheezing and asthma, I mean, and I still get a sense that a bit of soya milk now and then does something beneficial. Just last week, England got hit by a sort of dust storm that turned the air grey-white all over the country. There were warnings to be alert for asthma and other allergies. My eyes started watering a lot, but so did those of my cat. A friend on facebok, without any prompting, said she was sneezing a lot, as I was. My conclusion: asthma can turn one in on oneself, but remember sometimes your body is reacting to something different going on in the atmosphere. My cat sometimes has been a bit wheezy too, which kept me company.
09/07/14: Am starting to swing back to my original observation: It was use of the Reliever "Salamol" that preceded the blackout. It does seem the Reliever can also cause blood pressure-related blackouts, and chewing gum might be associated with the reaction. At the moment I am using just one puff of BD preventer daily, because of a return of bed-time asthma (triggered by getting into cool pyjamas or going into a cold bathroom.) I might try enjoying chewing gum again in a few weeks' time, although experiments that might trigger blackouts are not something I take lightly and I might give up chewing gum for life.
18/07/14: The grim sensation of going into a blackout happened today after only three days back on Preventer BD.
From comments in facebook:
"Thanks, I didn't realize that about the Reliever (mostly having no steroid content). Perhaps this time the Reliever precipitated my reaction to long term use of the Preventer." (here I'm suggesting that the Reliever might have compounded a condition of low blood pressure and declining stamina caused by the BD. On the other hand, the Reliever might have played no role in the January blackout.)
Everything still points to the Preventer being responsible for a general compromising of one's physiology by down-regulating the body's natural maintenance of blood pressure.
"I hardly used the Reliever and preferred a light usage of the Preventer pumps. I used the pumps so sparingly that a nurse seemed amused, and warned me that the doctor might cancel my ongoing prescription. I feel a lot better now that I don't use any of the medication. I'd like to emphasize that the side-effect I have described crept up slowly, making it hard to work out what was happening. It took me more than a year to get a sense that the asthma medication was inducing the blackouts. I had to use the pumps in my last accommodation due to poor heat insulation and dust. Where I live now I have no serious need for them. In summary, I'd say avoid using corticosteroid inhalers; rather do everything you can to live somewhere better."
In a clinical trial with 54 patients, on 1000mg (A very high, dose used by hospital consultants) a day the blood plasma levels of beclomethasone were completely normal in 48 of the patients. The other 6 patients were only a few mmol outside of the normal range (150-700mmol). Meaning it goes into the lungs and stays there - even at really high doses.
Inhaled steroids are safe, except in perhaps the tiniest minority of people, and your post could cause some serious damage, with people thinking that they should stop taking them because they are bad for them. Asthma kills, and inhaled steroids are one of the most effective ways to reduce the chance of asthma death.
More dialog (Feb 2015):
- Nurses should not bully people. I can honestly say that the nurses at my doc's surgery are all very nice, not that I have to see them a lot but they were all nice to me the other week with my knee xxxx