Asthma Specialists Boston MA

Scenarios like this are typical of the hold asthma exerted on my life for many years. Episodes came and went, with spasms gripping my bronchial tubes, inflammation swelling the mucous membranes, and phlegm choking the breath out of me.

George T O'Connor
(617) 638-7480
720 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA
Specialty
Pulmonary Disease

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Kevin C Wilson
(617) 638-7480
720 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA
Specialty
Pulmonary Disease

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John Matthew Brehm
(617) 726-8854
55 Fruit Street Bul 148
Boston, MA
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care (Intensivists)

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Amy R Simon
(617) 636-5000
750 Washington St
Boston, MA
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease

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Sarah Ann Schmidt
(617) 726-3734
55 Fruit St
Boston, MA
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care (Intensivists)

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Jerome S Brody
(617) 638-7480
720 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA
Specialty
Pulmonary Disease

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Martin F Joyce-Brady
(617) 638-7480
720 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA
Specialty
Pulmonary Disease

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Thomas Bernard Kinane
(617) 726-8707
55 Fruit St
Boston, MA
Specialty
Pulmonary Disease, Pediatrics, Pediatric Pulmonology

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Barry L Fanburg
(617) 636-5000
750 Washington St
Boston, MA
Specialty
Pulmonary Disease

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Gary Matthew Hunninghake
(617) 726-3734
55 Fruit St
Boston, MA
Specialty
Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Critical Care (Intensivists)

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Unwinding from Asthma

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By Swaha Devi

Like clockwork, a 2 a.m. asthma attack shut down my airways and jolted me out of sleep. The sweet relief of breath was at arm’s length, in the emergency inhaler on my night table. One quick spray and within seconds I felt my bronchial tubes begin to relax, allowing precious air to enter.

The next development was all too predictable. The drug made my heart race, and I couldn’t fall back asleep until just moments before the alarm clock rang, ending my brief respite.

Scenarios like this are typical of the hold asthma exerted on my life for many years. Episodes came and went, with spasms gripping my bronchial tubes, inflammation swelling the mucous membranes, and phlegm choking the breath out of me.

The attacks were at their worst when I lived in Florida, where the intense humidity caused mildew to flourish, aggravating my condition. I often felt like I was trying to breathe under water. Nor did my job as a tech writer in an old airplane hangar—full of mold, chemical fumes, and cigarette smoke—help matters. I can’t count the times when it seemed impossible to think clearly enough to get through the day. I tried allergy shots, but hated having to poke myself with a needle, so I quit the job instead. When a doctor told me my only option was to take medicine for the rest of my life, I finally found the courage to say enough.

My first order of business was to stop an attack without using inhalers. I accomplished this within weeks through a variety of methods, including taking first hot, then cold showers to relax the spasms, and hovering over steam infused with eucalyptus oil for long periods. But I was still living from one attack to the next. I needed to get to the root of the problem.

Once I began digging, clues turned up everywhere (even in King Tut’s tomb, where the anti-inflammatory herb licorice, now known as a decongestant, was unearthed alongside other treasures). Ultimately, though, putting the disease behind me required tending to much more than my closed airways. Top of the list? Stress.

Once I started paying attention, I realized almost anything—a cold, deadline pressures, bad news, or bad weather—could start me wheezing. Emotional stress of any kind was a particularly powerful trigger.

Elson Haas, a physician and director of the Preventive Medicine Center of Marin in San Rafael, California, isn’t surprised. Stress kicks off physiological responses that lead directly to breathing troubles, he says. What’s the first thing people do when they’re nervous? Take shorter breaths, of course. Plus, the body releases certain hormones when we’re under stress (particularly adrenaline and cortisol) that open up the airways—but once the stress goes away and these hormones subside, the bronchial tubes can tighten up again.

Clearly, I needed to coax my body into staying calm. (Stop and smell the roses? I was allergic to them!)

You’d think my living situation would have been a help. I was part of a yoga community at the time...

Author: Swaha Devi

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