Allergies? Can’t Breathe? You don’t have to live this way anymore.
December 11, 2012
You walk outside to jump in your car only to notice your tires are only about half full of air. What do you do? You jump in your car and hit the highway, right? Of course not, you know better. You fill them up because you want your car to ride well, use gas efficiently and certainly don’t want to be stranded with a flat on the side of the road. So, what about yourself? Do you treat your body any differently?
Just like the tires of our car, our body not only needs air to live but it also needs a sufficient amount of air to live well. As we breathe, air passes through our airway, from our nose to our lungs. There are a number of obstacles along the way that get in the way of our ability to breathe, and live well. Dust, pollen, and other allergens that we breathe cause inflammation in our nose and sinuses causing not only inflammation but potentially infection. They also cause inflammation in our lungs. Many of us have a nose that is a bit out of shape or has other structural issues like polyps or septal deviation that keep it from doing what it is supposed to do.
Some employers have a term for how we feel; they call it “presenteeism”. If you have these problems, this term probably makes a lot of sense. We hurt, our head aches, we can’t breathe, we are tired, irritated…we certainly aren’t fully “present”.
Oddly, many of us are quicker to fill the air in in our tires than we are to take care of ourselves. In a series of focus group sessions, we asked many people who have these problems how they feel and what they do about it. The results and psychology behind them were interesting.
Initally, many of the people told us that they didn’t feel their conditions warranted seeking medical attention. These folks then went on to discuss with us their daily life schedule. This is what they told us.
Wake up coughing and sneezing with a runny nose, headache and scratchy throat. Maybe their chest felt congested and tight, they were out of breath, stiff and achy. So, they hit the inhaler and rummaged through the medicine cabinet for that pill that hopefully would work today. They felt distant and alone, moved slower, felt miserable and certainly were sleep deprived.
By midday, it wasn’t much better. By this time, the stuffiness has turned into a full-fledge headache. The eyes have started to burn and water and the hopefulness we had in those pills earlier has reduced to a drug induced sleepiness and haze. So, they pop a few more pills and swill a couple cups of coffee to try to stay occupied with their work in an attempt to bury their frustration. They start to pick up a bit, but begin to lose the battle feeling tired, less productive and withdrawn.
That evening, the coughing and runny nose now found a friend…body aches. Pop a few more pills, and head to bed for a night of tossing and turning. Some days they have little victories, but they are losing the battle. Miserable.
Most of these individuals had experiences with various physicians with some but little success. Some had been to an Allergist for their allergies,ENT for their sinuses, or even their PCP for an antibiotic or other prescription.
What they didn’t understand was that these conditions were related. Sinusitis is often related to Asthma and both are typically related to allergies. Did you know this? They didn’t, and were caught trying to treat one while not doing anything about the other.
Here is what we know. 80% of chronic sinusitis is caused by an allergic reaction. 80% of asthmatics have evidence of sinusitis. 50% of adult asthmatics also have allergies and 90% of pediatric asthmatics have allergies. Allergic reactions trigger many of the asthmatic “flare-ups” and sinusitis episodes.
Patients need to understand their health. The people we talked to need to know they deserve to live better. Seek advice from your physician, and ask that before they tell you what you need to do, that they look at your allergic or breathing problems in total so you are not just taking care of your symptoms, but also the root cause.
Each BreatheAmerica center, whether in Albuquerque, El Paso or Shreveport, is designed to use the latest tools to determine, specifically, what is at the root of your allergies, sinusitis, asthma or other breathing problems. Then, we design a plan, specific to you, to give back the life you deserve. If this story sounds familiar for you or a family member, contact us and let us help find lasting relief.