Asthma and Hypermobility

This topic has been raised before, but as someone who was diagnosed with Joint Hypermobility syndrome last year I thought I would raise it again. For those of you who are not familiar with the term (as I wasn't until eighteen months ago) Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) is an inherited disorder which occurs as a result of a genetic mutation which affects the formation of collagen, making it more elastic than it should be. The most obvious manifestation of JHS is joints that have more than the normal range of extension and mobility, but as collagen is not confined to the joints it can affect other parts of the anatomy as well.

Eversince I heard about it I have wondered if there is a connection between it andmy asthma. I don't think it is responsible for it - I am not the only asthmatic in the family, but I am the only asthmatic who is also hypermobile - but I do wonder whether it has exacerbated the condition. Of those in the family who have asthma, I am the only one who has never been able to come off medicatiion, I am also the only one who has exercise induced asthma. When I saw a respiratory consultant last year he was dismissive of the idea that there might be a connection; the amount of literature on the subject is scarce (there doesn't seem to have been much research on the topic), and what there is does not seem to come to any firm conclusions one way or the other.

So I was wondering if any of you fellow asthma sufferers who suffer from both conditions have discussed this with your consultants, and if so, what they had to say about it.

10 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Hi

    I too would be very interested.

    I'm diagnosed with joint hypermobility and am also asthmatic; the last 4 years my asthma has got more difficult to managed especially in the last 12 months. I asked the respiratory consultant if there was a link but he said he wasn't aware of any links.

  • What I would really like to know is whether any work has been done/is being done on then possible role of the autonomic nervous system in all this. It's well known that it can be affected by JHS, I would be interested to know if any work has been done on the autonomic nervous system and asthma.

  • Hi Maggi,

    Sorry to revisit an old thread but similar things are playing on my mind.

    I loose weight so easily and have hms. In the early stages of a possible asthma diagnosis too.

    I'm wondering if the autonomic system could come into play? I was tested for Addison's disease last year as had withered away a great deal - actually mostly following a very bad case of croup which lingered. I didn't see dr then as assumed viral, wasn't diagnosed asthmatic and didn't know steroids could be useful.

    I can't help wondering if a slightly lower than average cortisol level could in some way come into play with both conditions. (I'm not advocating following this in silly supplement ways but I certainly often need some salty food etc - common hms thing, but also severe Addison's disease makes you crave salt to help keep blood pressure up.

    I guess I'm my case I've been slightly wondering if this new asthma is because my cortisol isn't as robust as others (though my response to testing doubled) ....

    But then I go round in circles thinking perhaps the asthma requires too much of my normal steroid hormones (now my head hurts!)

    But I can't help wondering if there are mild links.

  • To totally contradict myself, many physios and gps had said stress can weaken muscles - possibly extra stress in me (us) is caused by struggling to get adequate oxygen.

    I feel I build muscle when doing aerobic excersice along side anything else (swimmimg is therefore perfect!)

  • I've been wondering about whether there is a connection between the autonomic nervous system and exercise induced asthma for sometime. I did actually mention it to a consultant in respiratory medicine a couple of years ago who, interestingly, didn't dismiss it out of hand. Admitted, he didn't acknowledge the possibility either, but the fact that he did not immediately brush it aside (which, in my experience, consultants are prone to do if they don't agree with patient suggestions) gave me some hope that he didn't consider it a stupid idea. I do wonder if this is an area that needs some research - Asthma UK, take note.

  • Hi, I too have both JHS and Asthma. I've always had 'clicky' joints from as long as I can remember but only got it diagnosed a couple of years ago officailly. I have been diagnosed with adult onset asthmas about 3 months ago. I've never heard of a link but would be interested to find out more.

  • I can't add anything to this but I was diagnosed with JHS over 10 years ago (I do only just fit the criteria though so do not have huge problems) and have been asthmatic nearly 30 years. I have a strange range of health conditions and always thought some must be linked. When I was little, my mum was told it was because I was premature but several are genetic (5 out of 7 of my close family suffer from asthma). It is interesting how there are few of us here who have the JHS/asthma link.

  • You may also be interested to investigate a link between IBS and both asthma and JHS. I have all 3 of these and when my asthma has flared up this week my IBS is definately worse, although I'm not sure if the heartburn element of the IBS is worse due to me using my reliever inhaler more. JHS not too bad at the moment though.

  • Thanks to everyone for your replies. Yes, I knew about the IBS link with JHS, but I was not aware of any link between IBS and asthma. My gastroenterologist suspects I may get bouts of IBS (I have a very long history of problems with constipation - about as long as my asthma history).

    There is history of asthma in my family. Neither of my parents have it, but on one side there is history of childhood asthma, and on the other a great uncle who died of the condition (but this was, I believe, in the first half of the twentieth century, when treatment for the condition was nowhere near what we have now). The hypermobility also runs in the family.

    Interesting, Lobby, what you say about heartburn. It was appalling heartburn and unexplained weight loss (over ten percent) that got me referred to the gastroenterologist, who discovered that thrush in the oesophagus was the likely cause - on that occasion. The consensus is that my preventer inhaler may well have been (at least) a contributory factor in that. But I've also had heartburn (and reflux) resulting from gastro-paresis. I now have to be careful about what, when and how much I eat. Does this sound familiar?

  • Hi Maggie, yes the heartburn and stomach pain issue is a very familiar one, I think it went right back to early childhood. I used to be an incredibly fussy eater and would always complain of stomach issues as many things I ate hurt but I think at the time it was just put down to me being fussy. I try to avoid any processed or fast food as the heartburn is not worth it and stomach cramps are so debilitating - I had 2 packs of crisps yesterday and spent most of the evening curled up in a ball clutching my stomach and drinking peppermint tea. I also can't eat big meals, 2 courses and it feels like my stomach has been pumped up to bursting point, I literally cry with it sometimes. Have also been hospitalised last time I took ibuprofen as it tore my stomach, slowed my heart rate and made my blood pressure plummet. Was so painful for weeks afterwards.

    My throat is a bit wierd since staring on the inhalers but not terribly bad. Not lost any weight though, although I've never really had much to lose due to the ibs limiting how much and how often I can eat 'bad' food. I'll keep a check on my throat though as I've heard oral thrush is quite common with inhalers.

You may also like...