Some thoughts on my adult-onset asthma

I was asked by a good friend to write a post on my adult-onset asthma. So, I am happily writing this post, per the request. Before I get started, I have a few posts that kind of tie into this one; here, here, and here.

Have you had any allergic history or atopic asthma history as a child? That is a good question. I have no recollection of having any symptoms of asthma under the age of 43. Not sure that I am allergic to anything, but I do have nasty sinus issues. It is possible that my sinus issues could be triggered by outside allergens, but I have not been tested for that. I have noticed that fluctuations of weather in a short period of time wrecks havoc on this poor nose of mine. Also, dust seems to drive my sinuses crazy too, which can put me in a long sneezing attack. Yeah, I get to sneezing at times, sneezing one after another for several minutes, not much fun. My pulmonologist seems to think that most of my asthma fares have been sinus related, but I am skeptical.

Did this all come out of the blue? As strange as this may sound, yes it did. In the spring of 2009, I do recall having similar breathing problems that I do today. The episode in 2009 was short-lived with an antibiotic, nebing, and a burst of prednisone. I was breathing quite well the rest of the year. As a matter of fact, I had zero breathing issues for first three months in 2010. I even pushed my aerobic threshold boundaries on numerous occasions while preparing for a half marathon. My lungs seemed to take it with stride. So, it is strange how it hit out of the blue and did not go away like it did the previous year. As I look back, I should have gone to me primary doctor and maybe I could have been diagnosed in 2009 because it was obvious I was asthmatic from then on. I guess my lungs behaved themselves for a year before finally giving up on me.

Did you race before you got your asthma diagnosis? Yes, I did get a few races in before the spring of 2010 (5k, 10mile, half marathon). Two weeks before it hit, I walked that half marathon to my breaking point physically without any sign of asthma. I am so proud of that finish.

I might add, I was a really good cyclist in my 20s. I wasn’t the fastest out there but I rode with a cycling group and also did many non-racing cycling events. I specialized in climbing and endurance. During those days, I pushed my cardio to the breaking point all the time without breathing issues. So, I am pretty sure I didn’t have asthma at the time.

Anyway, feel free to ask more questions on this topic. It has been helpful to me also, allowing me to put my asthma in perspective.


6 responses to “Some thoughts on my adult-onset asthma

  1. I have different issues but we have one thing in common: a recent change. For the first time in 30 years I have no spring allergies and I have no idea why. I used to have blocked sinuses and bad sneezing.

    • That is awesome Ilana!!! I hope it stays that way.

      I have been taking fluticasone nasal spray and using nasal rinse since August of last year. My sinuses have been pretty controlled so far. I still have my moments but I can put up a pretty good fight against it now.

  2. Nice post, James. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks, James. I understand your situation more now.
    It is however strange that your initial bouts were not questioned at the time. Although AOA is notoriously hard to treat in some people especially if there is no explanation. Had you been blood worked/chest x-rayed at the time they might have determined that your initial illness stemmed from a virus or pneumonia or infection.
    Have you had a CT scan to see if there is any underlying damage now that might hint to this-considering you have had many repeated episodes of nasty asthma since?
    My other thought is that seeing as you mention you have had related sinus issues all your life-and now the AOA, my questions are 1) have you been checked for nasal polyps and post nasal drip? and 2) are you allergic to aspirin?

    Strange questions maybe but I’d be interested in your answers.

    I do not know how rigorously you keep your sinuses under control-rinsing, steroids sprays etc, but this would definitely benefit your overall lung health, seeing as one may be triggering the other.

    It’s great you exercise and did so before your illness started, but something I was told with AOA is that the fitter you are, the harder you fall. (I used to run a half marathon every Saturday before I suddenly took a turn for the worse asthma-wise in January 2005)

    Great story. But I’d definitely go back to your docs, and get a bunch of tests and bloods done and find out what may be causing your lungs to twitch and tighten so much. Allergies, antibodies, a virus, scarring whatever.

    I am sure you could be better than you are now.
    Crossing my fingers that you can be helped. Don’t accept that you are always going to be like this!


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