9/15/2007

09-15-07 - 2

I've always had some kind of allergy/exercise induced asthma. I don't get the attacks where I can't breathe, it just feels really hard to take a breathe. I've often described it as though I need to "loosen up" my lungs before I can breathe - when I first start cycling I feel like I'm breathing with 10% of my lungs, and as I warm up they open, and then there's a point where they "pop" and suddenly I can breathe. I've been doing some reading, and apprently my recent severe "bonk" followed by a massive mucus expectoration attack is actually a classic symptom of a severe EIA (exercise induced asthma) attack.

Anyway I found a confirmation for something I've always empirically known - Cycling is better than running . I've always been able to work myself up to decent cycling shape, but running has just been brutally difficult for me. I've tried to make myself run, but I've never been able to jog more than a mile without just going into wicked horrible breathing difficulty. At the same time I can cycle 50 miles at high intensity, so something weird is happening. (BTW this finding confirmation nonsense is sort of a red herring of the internet these days; there are so many pages out there you're likely to find confirmation of almost any thought you have, regardless of whether it's true or not).

I'm also more able to work out in a rugby/soccer type running mode, which is spurts of jogging and sprinting followed by time to recover. Apparently there is a so-called "refractory" effect which I haven't found good information about which makes this type of exercise easier for EIA sufferers.

So, a long time ago I tried using OTC asthma inhalers to help my condition. They didn't really help a lot, and now that I've actually done some research I'm not surprised. OTC inhalers are freaking epinephrine. That's pretty useless as a preventative, and in fact is only really useful as an absolute emergency aid when you're suffering a wheezing attack. The FDA has several times considered banning these, and the Association of Allergists recommends banning it, but the drug is popular and profitable so the FDA does nothing unless a lot of people die from it. What I should be on is something like Albuterol or various similar drugs. These require a prescription, but you can easily get them cheaply via the internet. (I've had trouble with Canadian pharmacies, they seem to want a prescription or something; I like the Indian pharmacies a lot better, they will generally do an online diagonosis and you can get whatever you want).

As usual, by far the best web site is American Family Physician which is one of the few places you can find actual medical articles online (without a password), not the garbage stuff that's written for the lay person that just says "talk to your physician".

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