This year is particularly bad for allergy and asthma suferers. Dr. Bassett discusses asthma and it’s relation to allergies, as well as a source for free asthma screening here in New York City.
This year is particularly bad for allergy and asthma suferers. Dr. Bassett discusses asthma and it’s relation to allergies, as well as a source for free asthma screening here in New York City.
On Tuesday April 26th Dr. Clifford Bassett appeared as a guest on the Dr. Oz Show to discuss alternate allergy and asthma treatments. Many doctors claim alternative medicine practices are junk science and may even be dangerous. Should you be concerned? Dr. Oz explores all sides of this debate, adding his own perspective on alternative remedies. Click on image above to watch the video.
Americans spend an estimated $10 billion a year on non-medicinal, consumer products marketed for people with asthma and allergies such as vacuum cleaners, air cleaners, bedding, toys, flooring and more. Often these products tout a wide variety of features and benefits including suitability for those with asthma and allergies, the ability to prevent allergen accumulation, and in some extreme cases, promising improved health for consumers without providing scientific proof or validation for such claims. The allergen-avoidance market continues to grow as a result of increased consumer demand but “currently there is little or no regulation governing claims”.
In 2006, the asthma & allergy friendly certification program was created by top medical experts and the oldest and largest not-for-profit, asthma and allergy patient advocacy organization in the world with the mission to empower consumers to make an informed purchase decision when choosing allergen-avoidance products. The Certification Program independently tests and identifies consumer products that are more suitable for the 60+ million people in the United States living with asthma and related allergies.
About the Certification Program
The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program, administered by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) in partnership with the international research organization Allergy Standards Limited (ASL), is an independent program created to scientifically test and identify consumer products that are more suitable for people with asthma and allergies. www.asthmaandallergyfriendly.com
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is the leading national nonprofit organization fighting asthma and allergic diseases. AAFA provides free information, conducts educational programs, fights for patients’ rights, and funds research to find better treatments and cures. www.aafa.org
Allergy Standards Limited (ASL) is a physician led global certification company that prepares independent standards for testing a wide range of products to determine their suitability for asthma and allergy patients. ASL’s management team possesses specialist skills in a variety of medical fields including asthma and other allergic diseases. www.allergystandards.com
To reduce the chance of having a heart attack, doctors tell us to lower our cholesterol and blood pressure, exercise more and eat less fat. Now a study says a simple device many of us already have might also help prevent heart attacks, Dr. Max Gomez reports.
The device is an air filter, but not just any air filter. It’s a special type called a High Efficiency Particulate Air filter, or as you probably know it: a HEPA filter.
Turns out by getting rid of a certain type of air pollution, some important risk factors for heart disease actually get better.
Exhaust from cars, trucks, and factories are downsides of modern life. In addition to noxious gasses, much air pollution contains billions of micro-particles that most city dwellers know all about.
“The apartment is perfectly clean and by evening time, if we keep the windows open,there’s soot. There’s a black film that we see within a few hours,” said Ruben Giron.
Turns out that when we breathe in those tiny particles, as Dr. Clifford Bassett of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York explains, “just being exposed to air pollution can increase your heart rate, your blood pressure.”
Those particles can also increase a couple of key risk factors for heart disease: inflammation and the health of the lining of blood vessels.
“Can lead to problems with blood flow to the heart and hence heart attacks or coronary artery disease,” said Dr. Leroy Rabbani of New York Presbyterian Hospital.
Now a new study looked at these two heart disease markers in 45 adults in Canada before and after running HEPA air filters in their homes.
The HEPA filters are very effective at taking micro-particles out of the air. They ran in the main rooms and bedrooms in homes that had wood-burning stoves, which put out lots of micro-particles.
After two weeks, inflammation went down and the health of the artery lining went up, which according to heart experts is very significant.
“Anything that we can do to improve the health of the inner lining of the arteries as well as to reduce inflammation will ultimately down the line lead to fewer heart attacks and better health so its an intriguing study in this regard,” said Dr. Rabbani.
Dr. Basset said HEPA filters also help reduce allergies and asthma triggers so you get additional benefit. Not to mention it keeps your home cleaner.
But it’s important to get a HEPA filter that’s the right size for your home or room, and to remember to change the filter.
This article was originally posted on CBS New York
The nation’s best-selling antihistamine, Allegra, was approved Tuesday by the U.S .Food and Drug Administration for over-the-counter use in adults and children 2 and older.
The allergy medicine, made by the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis, will hit shelves March 4, just in time for the spring allergy season.
Allegra, also sold generically as fexofenadine, is used to treat allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy, watery eyes and itchy nose and throat that result from indoor or outdoor allergens. About 50 million Americans suffer from indoor and outdoor allergies in the United States, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
“The FDA approval of over-the-counter Allegra will provide patients with another choice of a non-sedating OTC antihistamine,” Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist at New York University told CNN via email. But he also recommends talking to your doctor about your symptoms. “It is not uncommon to see patients with a variety of nasal and sinus symptoms, but when tested, do not actually have allergies. They may have sinus problems, infection, deviated septum, etc. So it is very useful to have simple in-office allergy tests to confirm indeed you do have seasonal or indoor allergies, so you get the correct treatment for YOUR symptoms.”
Drug, grocery, mass merchandiser and club stores will carry the product and individual retailers will control the pricing.
Allegra products available over the counter will include: Allegra 24-Hour and 12-Hour Tablets as well as Allegra-D 24-Hour and 12-Hour Allergy and Congestion Extended Release Tablets for adults and children ages 12 and older, Children’s Allegra 12-hour tablets and the 12-Hour Orally Disintegrating Tablets for children ages 6 years and older and Allegra Liquid for children ages 2 years and older.
Original article posted on CNN Health.
Researchers at Oxford University say yes! But hold on. Their research findings do not suggest that you immediately start taking aspirin (low dose), but that you talk to your health care providers to review risks (i.e. bleeding) vs. the protective benefits to see if it makes sense for you.
The researchers at Oxford University released findings about more than 20,000 patients from the UK who took a small daily dose of aspirin, they had a 25% reduction in their risk of dying from cancer, and a drop in death rates from any cause by 10%! One of the researchers also said that this study might have “underestimated” the number of deaths, if studied for a longer period of time. The risk of dying from cancer was reduced by 20% over 2 decades. The cancers that had the biggest drop included intestinal or colon cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and cancers of the esophagus.
As the weather starts to cool off in many U.S. cities and towns, we are still in the heart of the late summer and fall allergy season. That means lots of mold spores, ragweed, and other weed pollens — and a great deal of allergy misery.
Here are some simple and practical allergy tips to help you start fighting fall allergies:
Learn the Symptoms. Each year patients have the same question: How can I tell whether I have an allergy or a cold/sinus infection? In general, cold symptoms come on rapidly, while allergies occur with a pattern of exposure (after dusting, raking leaves, or pet exposure). Also, “itchiness” is often present with allergies.
Remember your allergy medications won’t work if you have sinusitis or a bad head cold. After a careful examination and some simple tests, your doctor can help determine whether it’s an allergy or cold/sinus infection.
Watch What You Eat. It’s not just what’s in the air that can wreak havoc on your seasonal allergies. What you eat can have an impact as well. Watch out for fresh foods including melon, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, banana, chamomile tea, and zucchini. Up to one third of ragweed allergy sufferers can actually experience worsening of their symptoms (itchiness of the mouth, tongue, and throat) with these foods. Although Echinacea may be used to fight “colds and viruses,” it can worsen your seasonal allergies if you are sensitive to ragweed and weeds, as a result of a cross-reaction.
Minimize Indoor Allergens. As you spend more time indoors this fall, you may experience a worsening of your allergies. Exposure to indoor allergens, particularly pets, mold spores, and dust mites can ratchet up your suffering. Ten percent to 15 percent of allergic individuals are allergic to their pets and may develop respiratory symptoms during the early to mid fall as a result of increased indoor exposure. Have a plan in place, such as HEPA type vacuum and/or HEPA central and/or room air purification, and possibly a dehumidifier if your symptoms are triggered by mildew and mold conditions.
Know Your Indoor Moisture Levels. Monitor your indoor humidity level (amount of moisture in the air) and attempt to keep it 50 percent or lower to avoid triggering mold and dust mite allergies. A low-cost hygrometer (less than $10) can help ensure optimal indoor humidity levels in your home. Too many indoor houseplants can also add to increased indoor humidity as a result of added moisture and molds.
Wash It Out. It’s important to wash any fall or winter clothing that has been in storage where dust and molds may have accumulated on them. Wash them thoroughly before wearing them. Keep off-season pillows, blankets, and even kid’s “plush” toys in an enclosed container to prevent additional indoor allergens from accumulating.
Stay tuned for more practical fall allergy survival tips — but for now, start to reduce those pesky allergy symptoms.
NEW YORK (CBS 2) – Asthma affects more than 23 million people in the United States, and while the condition is treatable, it still causes 4,000 deaths every year. CBS 2HD’s Dr. Max Gomez report there’s evidence that something in your food or maybe even in your medicine cabinet, could be part of the problem.
It’s something in milk, in your own body makes if you sit out in the sun, and it’s the hottest new supplement many doctors and their patients are taking.
It’s Vitamin D, and areas in the northern hemisphere where millions of people are Vitamin D-deficient are the same areas where asthma is most common.
If you have asthma or ever had a lung problem, you know what a spirometer is. Bailey Irwin used one in a pulmonary function test, a way to tell how he’s doing with the asthma he’s had since he was a child.
“It’s very scary,” he said. “There’s not much that’s more frightening than not being able to breathe. I mean you suck in air as hard as you can and you’re not getting as much oxygen in your lungs.”
Like Bailey, David Laufer’s asthma is pretty well controlled with medication, but now we’re learning that lack of a simple Vitamin D could be making their asthma worse and may even have a role in treatment.
“Vitamin D deficiency, not getting enough Vitamin D in the diet can affect asthma. And there are studies now looking at asthma control. Lung function will suffer with low levels of Vitamin D,” said Dr. Clifford Bassett of the Long Island College Hospital.
That comes from a recent study in the annals of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology that suggests that there may be a cause-and-effect relationship between Vitamin D deficiency and uncontrolled asthma.
“It’s probably true. Coincidentally or not I have a Vitamin D deficiency. I’ve been diagnosed with that,” said Dr. Clifford Bassett of Long Island College Hospital. “Simple blood test to check a Vitamin D level. And we can determine pretty easily whether there a deficiency in Vitamin D.”
The main source of Vitamin D in the American diet is milk, which is fortified with Vitamin D by law. But most people who are deficient will need supplements which are readily available over the counter.
And while the study didn’t address whether taking Vitamin D would make asthma better, Bailey said”I’m taking a very sizeable Vitamin D supplement, and sure enough actually this Spring was probably the best spring I’ve had for allergies or asthema in 10 years.”
Now if you have asthma, do not stop taking your medications just because you start taking Vitamin D. Talk it over with your doctor, have the simple blood test to check your levels and then decide on how much of the vitamin you need. Either way, a couple thousand international units a day of Vitamin D has very little risk and may help your asthma.
Original article on CBS New York
Air pollution from cars can increase a child’s chances of developing asthma, but add parental stress and the odds for asthma get even higher, a new study finds.
For children exposed to smoking while still in the womb, another asthma risk, parental stress also increases the risk for asthma, the researchers noted.
“There is an association between air pollution and asthma, and it grows with increasing exposure to stress in the household,” said lead researcher Ketan Shankardass, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at The Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
“The cause of asthma is still unknown,” Shankardass said. “It’s a major illness that affects a lot of people all around the world and we still don’t really have a handle on what causes it so we can’t control it very well. But this finding contributes to our understanding of that causal process.”
The report is published in this week’s online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
For the study, Shankardass and his colleagues collected data on 2,497 children in southern California. The children, aged 5 to 9, had no history of asthma or wheeze when the study started. Over three years, the researchers tracked whether or not the children developed asthma.
In addition, the researchers had the parents fill out a questionnaire that measured stress. The questionnaire asked the child’s mother about whether she felt in control of her life and whether she felt she was able to handle problems or whether she had problems coping with her life, Shankardass said.
The study authors also collected data on the children’s exposure to traffic-related pollution and whether the children were exposed to tobacco smoke before birth.
By itself, stress or socioeconomic status did not increase the risk of developing asthma, the researchers found.
However, when parental stress was combined with traffic pollution or exposure to smoking before birth, the risk of asthma increased more than it did for children exposed to pollution or smoke, but not stress.
Shankardass noted that exposure to traffic pollution and prenatal smoking as well as stress are more common in lower socioeconomic areas, which may help explain why asthma may disproportionately affect children of disadvantaged parents.
“For once, we may have a piece of the puzzle that would explain the social disparities in asthma,” he said.
Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of Allergy and Asthma Care of New York, said it is not surprising that parental stress can have an impact on children and asthma.
“Stress does have an impact on the immune system. Clearly, the relationship between stress, tobacco and air pollution are all bad guys,” Bassett said.
“There are many different variables — behavioral, socioeconomic, environmental and physiologic — that dictate whether a child will develop asthma,” Bassett added. “There are a lot of biologic pathways that are involved in the relationship of asthma and stress and the immune system.”
Bassett also thinks gauging household stress should be part of treating children with asthma.
For more information on asthma, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Original article on Drugs.com
When it comes to women and asthma, the ability to breathe can be affected by pregnancy, the menstrual cycle, and menopause. Women who also have allergies and other asthma triggers may struggle to get a breath of fresh air.
“Unequivocally, women with asthma face an extra challenge simply because they are women,” says Neil Kao, MD, an asthma and allergy specialist in Greenville, S.C.
“Not only are they challenged with balancing known triggers like pollen and mold, but they must also manage the fact that the female hormones in their bodies are constantly changing in ways that might impact how well they can breathe.”
Women must manage the effect of female hormones on asthma. Often they must manage asthma during pregnancy. Managing asthma poses greater challenges for women, but it can be done. Here’s how women with this chronic lung disease can start to breath easier.
Female hormones such as estrogen may have almost as much impact on the airways as allergies and hay fever. But estrogen itself is not the culprit in triggering the symptoms of asthma. Rather, it’s the fluctuation of estrogen — the up and down of hormone levels — that may cause inflammation in the airways.
“Fluctuating estrogen levels can activate proteins that produce an inflammatory response, which can bring on asthma symptoms,” says Christiana Dimitropoulou-Catravas, PhD, assistant professor in the department of pharmacology and toxicology at the Medical College of Georgia.
Dimitropoulou-Catravas, who was the lead author on a study investigating the role of estrogen in asthma, explains that by stabilizing estrogen levels, inflammation and asthma may be better controlled.
“With any medication, it’s a balance of risk vs. benefit,” says Dimitropoulou-Catravas. “Estrogen replacement therapy, which can bring estrogen levels into balance, has been associated with an increased cardiovascular risk, such as a higher risk of stroke. But if someone has severe asthma and it can be linked to low levels of estrogen, replacement therapy might be an answer.”
Most women living with asthma are conscious of the seasons and specific allergies that might trigger their symptoms. They should be aware of their menstrual cycles, as well. Shifting hormone levels can impact the state of their airways. So can pregnancy and menopause, when hormones and other factors may affect asthma symptoms.
Menstrual Cycles: A woman’s hormone levels change dramatically over the course of her menstrual cycle — whether it’s regular, or irregular. The trouble spot, however, may be right before her period starts, when estrogen levels are at a cycle low.
“Most hospitalizations for asthma in women occur around the peri-menstrual stage of the menstrual cycle — right before a woman’s period begins,” says Maeve O’Connor, MD, an allergist and immunologist in Charlotte, N.C. “This is when estrogen levels drop down to almost zero.”
Pregnancy: It’s a roll of the dice whether pregnancy has an impact on asthma. Kao says pregnant women with asthma are broken down into thirds: in 1/3 of women, asthma symptoms worsen; in the next 1/3 they improve; and in the last 1/3, they stay the same.
Whatever group you fall into, the good news is that asthma during pregnancy, if kept under control, does not increase the risk of maternal or infant complications.
Menopause: Menopause causes peaks and valleys in a woman’s estrogen levels — in many cases, more valleys than peaks. By keeping these levels more constant and avoiding dramatic drops that might trigger inflammation, asthma symptoms can be better managed. Women with asthma triggered by menopause should talk to their doctor about temporarily using hormone replacement therapy, and gradually tapering it off.
For women living with chronic asthma, the trick to keeping your symptoms in check is working closely with your doctor to manage your ability to breath. Here are practical tips from the experts on how to keep your airways open, despite what’s happening with your hormones:
In many cases, pregnant women avoid maintenance medication out of fear the medicine may harm their unborn child. In fact, the opposite is true. “When a pregnant woman has an asthma attack, you aren’t getting oxygen, and neither is baby, which can be detrimental to the health of mother and child,” says Kao.
“Women who go through menopause can develop asthma for the first time in their lives, which can be surprising,” says Basset. But, it’s important to know that you can have asthma at any age, especially women whose hormones are changing so dramatically, he explains. So don’t ignore wheezing and coughing, whatever your age.
If you experience asthma symptoms, talk to your doctor about treatment, including the option of temporary hormone replacement therapy.
Asthma in women is a serious health issue, Basset says. Asthma is more common in women than men. Women also suffer more hospitalizations and deaths related to asthma. In addition, cases of asthma have increased in women vs. men over the last decade or two, especially in women ages 20 to 50.
Still, the numbers aren’t the whole story. “We need to educate women about the fact that asthma is totally treatable,” says Basset. “When you have proper monitoring and insight into the disease it is a recipe for success.”
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