Improving asthma symptoms

I have mild late onset asthma and I decided to improve my lung capacity by doing the couch to 5k. I also gave up eating wheat 12 weeks ago and am now on week 6 of Couch to 5k, I feel so much better, no longer wheeze and have lost 10 lbs. I hadn't realised how much of a morale booster this would be for me, asthma symptoms can affect your confidence quite badly - more than I had realised. I am nearly 60 by the way. Would love to hear from anyone with a similar experience.

20 Replies

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  • Hiya....I am an ex heavy smoker...I am 56 and have smoked since I was 14. I could not get to the top of my stairs 5 years ago without wheezing. I was diagnosed with COPD. I lost both my Mum and Dad to smoking related disease. 5 years ago I stopped with the help of a NHS support group. I took up the challenge of couch to 5k last January. I am overweight and was very nervous. I am sitting here in my running gear waiting for it to get light so I can get over the park and do my 5k...slowly but surely for the 2nd time this week. My breathing is no longer an obstacle as I walk for around 10 mins to get lungs used to cold. My COPD is barely registered on the GPs machines...my blood pressure is very good, my pulse rate has reduced by 10-15 beats a minute. My cholesterol is down and with the help of Slimming world I have lost a stone..(I have another 2 to go)....so all that being said...GOOD FOR YOU!! Keep it up....you are never too old to start this and the benefits are enormous..well done xx

  • Wow what a story! Well done x

  • Hi - that is so fantastic especially with such a clear history of lung issues, it's brilliant that you have such a positive attitude! I think the NHS is doing absolutely the right thing to focus on the promotion of health but it needs more government funding to educate people about healthy life styles. I agree that age is not an issue it's all about attitude.

  • Your comments appeared just in time for me. I've just finished week 4 and week 5 is looking nigh on impossible! I've always had asthma and use two inhalers everyday. You've shown that this will improve my lung capacity so I'm determined to keep going. At 47 I thought I'd left it too late to get fit so thank you. Good luck both of you. X

  • Keep going, you are doing brilliantly and even if you have to repeat a week it doesn't really matter because you are still going in the right direction!

  • Likewise, breathing was a huge issue for me at the start, I used to use an inhaler with hay fever but that's all. On week 3 I realised my breathing had improved, I checked on my partners peak flow and found I was still very much under what I should be but I kept on running... Kept meaning to go to the docs... But now I hardly struggle with breath at all! I'm delighted! I've gained so much from running I can't tell you all!! Currently I'm full of cold so can't run but I'm looking forward to getting back out there!

  • Well done both of you ladies for tackling your health issues , losing weight and starting to run You both have massively improved your quality of life and probably lengthened it quite considerably I will be 60 in feb and been yo yo dieter for years but sudden death of my mum and 2yr old grandson diagnosed with leukaemia year ago saw weight piling on and me feeling really down --- no motivation to do anything Woke up one morning in summer and thought get a grip Started c25k Have lost weight and feel FANTASTIC So much more energy and positive feelings Good luck to you both

  • That's brilliant news, keep going! Sorry you've had such a tough time and I hope your grandson is doing well, I don't know what your spiritual beliefs are but you could try finding a healer for him (in addition to his regular treatment I mean). Best of luck.

  • Thank you Wee one responding to treatment but side effects awful Finished 1 yr of 3 yr plan At nursery etc so all quite ' good ' Keep on running

  • That's really interesting. I've had a similar diagnosis and experience. My lung capacity has grown as I've got more into running and the asthma has stabilised. I have periodically thought wheat challenged my immune system and I go through periods of giving it up but I find it hard. Stopping eating wheat seems to lead straightaway to a few pounds dropping off. I have also noticed that eating chocolate can be followed by some shortness of breath which is a right pain but they do say you crave the stuff you are allergic to!

    Well done for taking positive action to improve your health. I am just 60 too and not ready to head for the couch just yet.

  • That's very interesting, I was diagnosed at 50 and have no family history of allergy or asthma at all. I was prescribed inhalers but was quite disappointed that the GP wasn't particularly interested in finding out why I had developed it. I have since read a book called "Wheat Belly" written by an American cardiologist who made a study of the current strains of wheat which have been genetically modified and he realised the connection between wheat eating and a lot of quite serious medical conditions including asthma and obesity. It was particularly interesting to note that wheat has the effect of being an appetite stimulant - something I really wasn't aware of. I now eat oat cakes and rye crispbreads and find the only problem is eating in cafes where so much is bread based! I am so glad things are going well for you.

  • I developed breathing problems after having a reaction to lawn feed and weed stuff. Was really dramatic at the beginning but after a few months consultant diagnosed 'twitchy lungs' but the symptoms are very like cough variant asthma. This was at 53. Only get it sometimes and no need for inhaler or anything but I notice running in the cold air sometimes brings it on so might be something to look out for. I just invested in a buff thingy to put over my mouth so will see if that makes a difference. Most of the time though my breathing is fine running. Very interested in the wheat connection though, so will google it and have a look. Happy running and enjoy the confidence boost.

  • I am half way through a 5 day high dose of sterroids for a wheeze, after antibiotics did not clear it, and inhalers were having little effect, but I was able to run throughout! I find it strange that I stil wheze sometimes after climbing a flight of stairs, but can now run for 25 minutes (wk 7) without too much effort! Am running on a treadmill though, as I do feel it is agrivated by the cold. My plan is to complete on Treadmill and to then build up outside running in the new year. Running has certainly helped my asthma symptoms - but I do ensure I have an inhaler at hand just in case. Keep going, I too, with support form Weight Watchers, have now lost 15.5lb since start of september.

  • Sounds like you've done brilliantly! Asthma is quite strange and hard to understand sometimes - I have spent a lot of time wondering if it has an environmental or nutritional cause and have come to the conclusion for me that it's probably nutritional. I have noticed reactions to certain white wines (red is fine), whole milk and wheat so I steer clear of those. I seem to be fine running on the coldest wettest days so the cold doesn't seem to be a problem!

  • I have asthma characterised by a cough, rather than wheezing, and worse in the winter, but I find that running hasn't been a huge problem for me. During the winter I use a Seretide inhaler twice a day and sometimes cough a bit when running but haven't needed Ventolin at all, even on the occasions when I've run 6 or 7K.

  • This is a very interesting thread. It seems that so many more people get diagnosed with asthma now with a range of symptoms and the medics never seem interested in the root cause. My GP just handed out an inhaler and when I said I wasn't sure that was working, simply handed out a steroid inhaler! I've had two chest infections this year needing antibiotics, the first antibiotics I've had for 25 years and I find it so surprising that they just seem to shrug and go for some easy drug-related response.

    People seem to have a variety of symptoms too, mine were the chest infections, a dry occasional cough, chest tightness and a light wheeziness apparent only to me and a bit of breathlessness when hill climbing. I seem to be able to run with no problem.

    I do wonder if we aren't all suffering either increased allergic reactions to substances such as wheat, chocolate etc., which may be the items themselves or the way they have been doused in chemicals (fertiliser and pesticides); or traffic pollution which is so much worse in south east England especially; or to household chemicals which are now so much more prevalent. Amongst the latter I count cleaning products, fire retardants on furniture, bedding and clothing and in building materials such as laminates and chipboard. My daughter recently bought an acrylic jersey from Primark and ended up covered in a rash which began on the areas where the jersey touched her skin and then spread alarmingly. What was on that jersey?!

    I do feel that being lighter and fitter is a definite boost to general health. I've got a CT scan and a hospital appointment next January but I don't hold out much hope of anything definite showing up. I am glad to be enjoying running so much, I've got to the point where I get twitchy now if I can't run most days, brilliant.

  • Hi all! GillyLilly, wish you all the best following this programme and please post often so we can keep up with you. Regarding the asthma, I have had it since junior school but as my allergies (mainly pollen) worsened, so did my asthma. However, it wasn't until a good GP put me on a prescription antihistamine that I realised the connection, as within weeks my asthma dramatically improved. I still use the blue inhaler before running but with the running, I am not sure I will always need it.

    P1glet :)

    P.S. I am allergic to soya, thought it was wheat for a while, as it's used as a bulking agent in a lot of wheat products. Might be worth you investigating.

  • Hi, thanks for your encouraging reply, I am glad you don't really need inhalers - it seems clear you have always had allergic reactions but good that you were offered antihistamine to solve the problem. I think I am all right with soya but thanks for the suggestion.

  • I have been diagnosed with both asthma and coeliac disease in the past 10 years. I'm sure there is a connection.

  • It might be worth having a look at a book called "Wheat Belly" by William Davis MD which is a fascinating study of the effects modern strains of wheat have on our state of health. I gave up wheat 3 months ago and have lost 10 lbs, I feel so much better and my asthma has gone (no wheezing at all).

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