Sinus Infection induced Asthma isn't going away, help?
August 29, 2009 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Sinus infection two years ago led to immediate symptoms of exercise-induced asthma. After two years, it's gotten better, but never fully disappeared. Will it ever go away? Am I impeding my recovery by continuing to utilize an inhaler?

Two years ago, I had two sinus infections within relatively close proximity of each other. Each time while recovering, I'd go for daily runs, during which I'd have to stop because it became almost impossible to breathe.

My doctor prescribed me an inhaler and said that the infection somehow affected my lungs, and that the symptoms would eventually go away.

Almost two years later I can run without the inhaler- on some occasions, I don't realize I've forgotten to take it until the end of the run, but at other times it is, to a noticeable degree, harder to breathe. The symptoms are exasperated by cold weather, but are for the most part much better than they were two Septembers ago.

I'd like to be able to stop using the inhaler completely.
Am I impeding my recovery by continuing its use? Will my symptoms ever go away? My symptoms only occur during intense exercise and are otherwise nonexistent.

Any information is much appreciated!
(I hope to formally ask a doctor about this upon my next visit, but this may be a couple months from now.)
posted by pyrom to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Inhaler = reliever (e.g. terbutaline) or something else?
posted by effbot at 5:10 PM on August 29, 2009

IANAD, but I had a bad case of bronchitis in high school. Lasted most of a whole spring. It took a good three years for me to hit the point where I could laugh really hard about something without coughing. Cold weather also bothered me. It still happens sometimes and I graduated a decade ago, but only rarely now.

I don't think it started getting significantly better until about 3 years in when I started using an inhaler regularly, so my guess is that no, the inhaler isn't making it worse. It's just something that won't go away right away.

But check with your doctor, obviously. Everybody's different, etc.
posted by larkspur at 6:28 PM on August 29, 2009

I also developed asthma after a long bout with pneumonia, and it was at least three years before I no longer regularly needed an inhaler. Talk to your doctor by all means, but until you can do so, try to be patient with yourself and the needs of your body. Use your inhaler when you need it. Breath is precious.
posted by timeo danaos at 7:26 PM on August 29, 2009

You may just have asthma. I myself developed asthma at the age of 33, and relied on the reliever (ventolin) plus a manager (Symbicort powder) for a number of years.

I haven't used either for a couple of years. Interestingly, during the time that I have not had to use asthma medication, I have not had allergies (hayfever).

However, this year my allergies have been bad, both in late spring, and during the past few weeks. I really wish I had updated my allergy prescriptions.

My father also lives with asthma. A new neighbour who just moved to our street is a pharmacist, and he mentioned that my father might actually be allergic to Symbicort, and he suggested my father just stop taking it and seeing what happened.

Interestingly, my father's asthma has all but disappeared.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that asthma is not well understood, and that it's not unusual for asthma to be triggered in later life.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:47 PM on August 29, 2009

Oh, yeah, I would recommend using the inhaler prior to exercise. I know that there is a turbo-inhaler or whatever (ie, something that is not ventolin, which is definitely not good for you) in powder form that also works.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:49 PM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

What's wrong with ventolin (albuterol)?

At its most basic, asthma is an oversensitivity in the lung tubes that causes them to go into spasm. The infection probably triggered the membranes to become over sensitive.

I have had asthma all my life, and its severity comes and goes. If I get bronchitis, you can bet that my asthma will be more severe for a few months.

(Anecdote- I don't think I'm allergic to the powder-forms of drugs, but I'm definitely sensitive to them. Makes my throat close up, which makes good lung function not the immediate concern.)

(See if the doctor will let you try Flovent. It has worked wonders for me.)
posted by gjc at 10:09 PM on August 29, 2009

Long-term use of ventolin is supposed to actually damage your lungs.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:45 AM on August 30, 2009

KokuRyu: Long-term use of ventolin is supposed to actually damage your lungs.
This statement is dangerously wrong. Albuterol has been around since the 1960s and its effects are well studied over lifetimes. There are other more recent drugs that are more effective for long term relief of asthma, but Ventolin is one of the most effective for short term control of exercise induced asthma that the OP describes. It will not damage your lungs. It can save your life. The only risk is that it can lose its effectiveness when over dosing in lieu of long term control of chronic asthma.
posted by JackFlash at 9:21 AM on August 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

I have chronic sinusitis and did get asthma after a bad respiratory infection. I gave up dairy products for a while, and the asthma slowly went away. Anything that causes inflammation, I guess.
posted by PJSibling at 3:16 PM on August 30, 2009

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