Search results for asthma

Breathe. What you need to know about asthma and HRT

Posted by on Sep 30, 2011 in asthma, HRT, menopause | 0 comments



If you suffer from asthma, you will want to take note: researchers presenting at this week’s European Respiratory Society AnnualConference have shown that female asthmatics have an increased risk of landing in the hospital if they take hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Yet another nail in the HRT coffin, once again demonstrating that the health risks of taking hormone replacement may outweigh the benefits.

Notably, studies have shown that asthma risk increases in women after puberty. Moreover, hormones, most specifically fluctuating estrogen levels, can impact airways as much as allergies and hay fever (fluctuating estrogen levels can produce an inflammatory response and exacerbate breathing difficulties). On average, asthma symptoms develop in about 21% of menopausal women and more than twice as many using hormone therapy.

In this study of over 23,000 Danish women with documented asthma, researchers looked specifically at hospitalizations for severe reactions. They also collected information on smoking, exposure to smoke, body mass index, level of physical activity, history of hysterectomy and use of HRT.  The findings? Using HRT increased the risk for hospitalization for severe asthma reactions by as much as 40% compared to not using hormone therapy. What’s more, the longer the women used HRT, the higher their risk of ending up in the hospital; for example, if they used it for less than 3 years, they have a 29% increased risk and if they used it for more than 10, a 51% increased risk. Even more troubling was the fact that women didn’t smoke appeared to have the highest risk for being hospitalized in association with their HRT use.

Although this isn’t a randomized trial, and more information is needed, the researchers still recommend that practitioners be made aware of these findings. They say that the relationship between asthma and female sex hormones is hardly new, but that their findings confirm the relationship and further our understanding of it by showing the extent of severe asthma reactions that occur when women take hormones. “If a patient develops asthma or has a severe worsening of symptoms after taking HRT, they may need to stop hormone therapy altogether,” they add.




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Unchain my lungs…estrogen and asthma

Posted by on Feb 12, 2010 in asthma, estrogen, HRT | 2 comments

As the evidence continues to accrue against the use of combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT), attention must be turned to estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy. However, is it safer?

In the Women’s Health Initiative, which was halted last decade, taking estrogen alone was associated with an increased risk of blood clots, stroke, impaired cognitive function and dementia. In the latest bit of information to hit the news, estrogen-only therapy may also increase the risk for developing asthma.

Results of a 12-year study among almost 58,000 women who were not suffering from asthma at the start of menopause showed that they were 21% more likely to develop asthma symptoms. This risk was significant among women who had been taking estrogen only compared to women who had never used hormones, had a 54% greater risk of developing asthma. The risk was even greater among women who had never smoked, although a small proportion of study participants had allergies prior to developing asthma.

Once again, Reuters has done an excellent job of reporting on this study and has some great quotes from the researchers as well.

Meanwhile, what should you do if you’ve been taking estrogen to combat the symptoms of menopause? As always, you have a choice and only you and your practitioner can determine if you are at risk for developing any of the conditions that are associated with hormonal therapy. The good news? Breathe easy. Yet another reason to lose the hormones…for good.

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Wednesday Bubble: It’s Amazing!

Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in aging | 0 comments


Snake Oil. It’s pervasive in health and it’s important to maintain your vigilance and common sense. So, if someone promises you a product that is NON-TOXIC with NO DRUG INTERACTIONS, a technology that touches just about every aspect of health imaginable, directs you to a website entitled yesitsamazing, you have to step back and wonder what the heck.

What’s so amazing you ask?!

Redox signaling molecules — the very same molecules that exist within cells — that scientists have now suspended in a saline solution so that they work OUTSIDE THE BODY to heal just about everything from asthma and bladder leakage, to restless leg syndrome, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s. My goodness, it’s a miracle, truly amazing!!!!! Or as the folks over at Science Based Medicine describe it, “water and salt.”

The folks pitching this miracle supplement, better known as ASAE,  claim that they have data supporting the efficacy of chemically recombined molecules. In fact, ASAE theoretically replenishes signaling molecules that are lost during the aging process.

Redox is scientific terminology for reduction and oxidation, all chemical reactions in which electrons are transferred between particles so that a signal is initiated. You may have heard of such things are reactive oxygen species or oxygen free radicals — molecules that contain oxygen chemicals that can influence immunity and disease through their actions on cells. However, while the science is sound, the product, as described, is hardly science. What’s more, a quick sweep through the National Library of Medicine reveals plenty of studies on signaling molecules but not one on ASAE. Huh. Makes me even more curious about the science behind the claims that ASAE:
  • Promotes enhanced immune function
  • Boosts efficiency of the body’s own antioxidant by 500%
  • Offers proven superior support to athletes (in a study of 17 people, by the way, with no control group for comparison)

Honestly,  you probably need ASAE as much as you need a glass of salt water. Amazing? Hardly.

This ‘science’ breakthrough is anything but.
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Wednesday Bubble: HRT. One Size Does Not Fit All

Posted by on Mar 20, 2013 in HRT | 0 comments

Pastel tones bubble background

When it comes to medical strategies, one size never fits all. Dosages and directions for use need to be individualized. Genetic factors, current health status, age, diet, exercise and weight play important roles. As do total health outcomes.

Earlier today, I was reading an article* for a project that I am working on and ran across the following sentence:

“Clinicians are interested not only in improving symptoms, but also in total outcomes, i.e. changes in patients’ current and future health due to effects of treatment.” The author, Dr. Michael Blaiss, goes on to explain that not only is the clinical response important, but also, quality of life and cost should be taken into consideration.”

I can think of nowhere where this statement is more important than in the treatment of menopausal symptoms. One size, indeed, does not fit all. Therapeutic strategies should be individualized and address a woman’s specific symptoms, her age, her current menopausal status, smoking history, health history, diet, genetics and preferences. A single tablet is no more the answer than a standardized dose of hormone replacement therapy (or menopausal replacement therapy — MHT — as it is called in other developed nations).

Recently, a group of organizations** devoted to menopause, reproductive medicine and endocrinology convened to issue a new statement about the use of hormonal therapy during menopause. To be entirely honest, this is the first time that I’ve believed such a statement is without bias and was not driven by pharmaceutical interests. It also appears to reflect the total outcomes concept. And so, I wanted to share a summary of a few key recommendations so that you can make an informed decision about addressing your menopausal symptoms.

  • Menopausal Hormone Therapy or MHT is [one] of the most effective treatments for vasomotor symptoms but benefits are likely to outweigh risks [only] before age 60 or within 10 years after menopause. It is also effective for prevention of osteoporosis-related fractures in at risk women but again, only before age 60 or within 10 years after menopause.
  • While estrogen alone may decrease the risk of heart disease and death from heart disease in women under age 60 (again within 10 years of menopause), similar evidence for combined hormone replacement in terms of heart disease has been found. It neither prevents or increases the risk of heart disease.
  • Vaginal dryness? Try local estrogen and not systemic; it is preferred.
  • The risk of stroke increases with MHT; patches may offer lower risk.

Contrary to widespread data, the organizations continue to dispute the connection between breast cancer and MHT, however, they do emphasize that current safety data do not support the use of MHT in breast cancer survivors. Finally? the consensus statement emphasizes that the decision to use MHT is complex and must take certain factors into account, factors such as quality of life, health priorities and personal risk factors. Dose and duration must also be individualized, consistent with goals, and in consideration of safety issues.

If you want to learn more about HRT and its risks/alternatives, I’ve been writing about the issue and the data for almost five years now. You can start perusing the archive of information here. Meanwhile, be smart, be vigilant, ask questions. Don’t accept the idea that a pill or a single solution exists; it probably doesn’t. And mostly? Keep the faith. I’ve got your back. Promise.





*Blaiss MS. Cognitive, social and economic costs of allergic rhinitis. Allergy and Asthma Proc. 2000;21:7-13.

** The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, The Asia Pacific Menopause Federation, The Endocrine Society, The European Menopause and Andropause Society, the International Menopause Society, the International Osteoporosis Foundation and the North American Menopause Society.

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The Roundup: Fall News and Tidbits

Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


[Credit: Special Thanks to artist Darryl Willison of  Please visit his site and support his work.]

Wow! Can you believe that we have reached the last month of the year? I haven’t done a Roundup in some time so in case you’ve missed something, I’m selecting my Fall favs for your perusal.


  •  Menophrenia? The Walking Dead have nothing on zombiepausal women. Welcome to the dark side of vintage advertising.
  • HRT takes yet another hit. The U.S. Preventive Task Force says that hormone therapy will not protect you against chronic disease.
  • Speak up! Women have plenty to say…except when it comes to corporate or governing bodies. It’s time to change that paradigm, don’t you think?
  • Feeling Wheezy? What’s in your medicine cabinet? HRT may be worsening your asthma.
  • I Put a Spell on You. If your flashing it out of control, you may want to see a hypnotist. That’s right; researchers say that hypnosis can significantly benefit number and severity of hot flashes.
  • No Bones About It! Aging is part of the bone loss story. But what about your diet and the meds you take? Time to look closer and factors that may be influencing your skeleton.
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