Healthy Living: Dealing with asthma
Allergens and temperature fluctuations are common in upstate New York, and according to a recent study, so is asthma. Casey Bortnick reports.
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It's a familiar sound, one Joseph Green knows all too well.
“It’s tough living with asthma,” said Green, an asthma patient.
He needs two inhalers and a few trips to see his doctor to get through this time of year.
"I take allergy shots once a month," said Green.
Allergic reactions to tree pollen and ragweed can trigger Joseph's asthma. So can a drastic change in the weather.
"We can be 80 degrees one day and then be back in the 50s," Green explained.
Allergens and temperature fluctuations are common in upstate New York, and according to a recent study, so is asthma. The rate of asthma cases for those 18 to 64 in upstate new York is 11.6 percent, two percent higher than the state's average.
“It illustrates that there are many things we know about asthma and there are some things we still don't know," said Dr. Carl Devore, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
Carl Devore put these numbers together for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Because asthma has been associated with crowding and environmental pollution, Dr. Devore says these results are surprising.
“There are wilderness- and rural-based allergens in the air as well as city based pollution kinds of allergens, and each causes asthma in its own way,” said Dr. Devore.
Dr. Ed Arreaza has practiced in New York City and western New York. He has a simple theory.
“The homes are very airtight, very energy efficient and as a result of that the indoor air quality maybe not as good,” said Dr. Arreaza.
Since more than half of all asthma cases have an allergic component, Dr. Arreaza says more allergens mean more asthma. He says cleaning your furnace, keeping the humidity in your home low, and keeping tree pollen and mold out can help.
"All those things added may help in controlling a person's allergies and asthma effectively," said Dr. Arreaza.
"Some people have unusual foods that trigger it, or emotional stressors. Every person needs to be alert to the subtleties of their own disease and manage their own triggers the best they can,” said Dr. Devore.
Since Joseph doesn't plan on moving, he knows there's a long battle ahead.
“You can never get over asthma, you can control it, but you’ll have it for the rest of your life,” said Green.