Saturday, March 01, 2008

Does asthma have anything to do with it?

I picked up a Peak Flow meter from my doctor a few years ago and found it in a bike box as I was rummaging through it this morning. I blew a 450 this morning - somewhat normal for me. Compared to other people my height and age, that's a little low (should be in the 500 range). And with the increased tree pollen in the air, I decided not to leave it to chance and bring and use my inhaler. Earlier this week I had a full on allergy attack thanks to the poplars and junipers reaping in the spring sun.

After having a humble pie today, I checked my air flow when I got back to the car and I blew a meager 350. Not to make excuses - but maybe my lack of air flow prevents oxygen from being carried into my legs and reduces performance? Time to check in with the doc and figure out some proactive things I can do to reduce my asthmatic lungs.


jimmy said...

You get the allergies too? I felt like crap all this sunny week. I'm not sick, but constantly felt like poo. It culminated on the drive home from the bike race. Something about the freeway grass maybe? I hated the freezing rain this winter but the nice thing about bad weather is no allergies though!

Good to hear you banged out your first race of the year. Can't wait until the track opens up. You don't have to think about eating or drinking, or weather.

jillita said...

Try changing your diet. I developed exercise-induced asthma after college and was relegated to an inhaler that made me all jittery and I hated the feeling of chemicals in my body doing this to me when all I wanted was the freedom of fresh air.

I eventually found that wheat and dairy really effected the intensity of my asthma and by eliminating these items I've weaned myself off the inhaler and any asthma incidents the past 15 years. It even helps with airborne-triggered incidents. When your body is fighting off food allergens, it can't fight off other things like pollen or mold nearly as well as it should because your immune system is so compromised.

Also, my BF and others have had a lot of great success with acupuncture and chinese herbs for their seasonal allergies, which were often debilitating.

However, if anyone does have a history of asthma attacks, they should still carry an inhaler for emergency purposes. I used to, but don't any more because it's been so long.

There are lots of non-pharmaceutical options out there. Don't give in to da Man!

Juicey said...

Thanks Jill! Any suggestions on how I find out if I have food allergies? That sure would be awesome if it's that simple. :)

As a baby I had to go to the ER constantly to control my asthma. In turn it created a needle phobia and to this day I would rather attempt a summit of Everest rather than get pricked in the finger!

And I wish my inhaler left me jittery - instead it just calms me down and opens the wind pipes. Maybe it's because I've been dealing with it all my life?

jillita said...

Food allergies are pretty fascinating I think. We're so conditioned to eating like an American (whatever, whenever I want it!) that it's hard to accept that your tried and true diet can be creating all sorts of disturbances to your system.

You can work with a naturopath who will put you on a food elimination diet for 2-4 weeks and even do some additional blood testing, or you can do the diet and interpret things on your own.

Basically you eliminate all the major food allergens: wheat/gluten, corn, peanuts, soy, dairy, booze (ahhh!), sugar (nooo!!), caffeine (wha??), citrus, potatos, and maybe a few others (can check online). Taking these out of your system will give your body a clean slate and you will feel AMAZING w/in a week after you live through the withdrawl.

Then after the 2-4 weeks, you add the items back 1 at a time and see how your body reacts over 2 days(asthma, rashes, digestive problems, etc). Take the item back out of your diet for a few days to clean it out of your system, then introduce the next item, etc. Keep it all in a food diary.

I've done this a few times over the years, but now have adopted it full time to give my body as much of a break from fighting chronic fatigue as possible. I really feel like I'm not fighting my body. Initially it's hard for an athlete who is used to eating anything not locked down, but you adapt quickly and find a whole new culinary world and can eat just as much as before, but it's not hurting you.

You can find a lot of into online, too. Do it! It's fun!