Saturday, February 25, 2017

Living with AERD: Early on...

My doctor told me early this month that I was following the typical AERD timeline, including when I was diagnosed with Asthma in high school.  I wanted to share a condensed history in hopes this helps others.   You can read my AERD introduction post here.

When I was younger I had allergies but nothing that wasn't handled by just taking an allergy pill during the spring and fall.  However during my sophomore year of high school that all changed.  I was diagnosed with Asthma and slowly it became worse, affecting my ability to play Field Hockey.  It was "controlled" but not well enough where I could go back to my old daily life just treating the symptoms that I was experiencing.

Fast forward to my college years, I started to get migraines that seemed to stem from eating certain foods, but instead of changing what I ate, my doctor prescribed me the NSAID Anaprox.   I couldn't have aspirin due to an allergy.  The same allergy my mother had, which eventually caused her death due to an aspirin induced asthma attack.  That worked well enough and I went on with my life.   I still ate MSG and other related food and just treated the symptoms.  

During my early 20s, I had moved from NJ to Virginia with my boyfriend (now husband).  I was working at a bank in Northern Virginia when I started to get a headache.  My coworker had an Aleve on her so I took that and within minutes I started to have a severe reaction.   This was one of the worst asthma attacks I had experienced in my life thus far.  Thankfully I was able to recover, and a note was then added to my medical records saying I was not only allergic to aspirin but to NSAIDS as well.  Again, symptoms were treated but nothing else was really done. 

All during this time I was also suffering from severe sinus infections.  I feel like I've been on some sort of antibiotic to treat them most of my adult life.  After this experience with Aleve, I have had worsening Asthma, Allergies, sinus headaches, and other symptoms that were always just treated but never really resolved.  I was suffering daily and it was affecting my family, home life and work life.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

Living with AERD: Introduction

I recently went to to the doctors and was diagnosed with AERD.  I had a feeling I had it after finding it on a facebook page and playing with Dr Google but I was officially diagnosed with it last week.  I want to blog about my journey to get healthy so I can see how far I've come and to maybe help others who also suffer from AERD.


What is AERD/Samter’s Triad?
Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease (AERD), also known as Samter’s Triad or Aspirin Sensitive Asthma, is a chronic medical condition that consists of asthma, recurrent sinus disease with nasal polyps, and a sensitivity to aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Approximately 10% of all adults with asthma and 40% of patients with asthma and nasal polyps are sensitive to aspirin and NSAIDs
What are the symptoms?
Patients with AERD/Samter’s Triad usually have asthma, nasal congestion, and nasal polyps, and often do not respond to conventional treatments. Many have experienced chronic sinus infections and can lose their sense of smell. The characteristic feature of AERD/Samter’s Triad is that patients develop reactions triggered by aspirin or other NSAIDs.
Reactions include:

  • Increased nasal congestion or stuffiness  (I have!)
  • Eye watering or redness (yup!)
  • Cough, wheezing, or chest tightness (I have that too!)
  • Frontal headache or sensation of sinus pain (and this!)
  • Flushing and/or a rash 
  • Nausea and/or abdominal cramping (yup!)
  • General feeling of malaise, sometimes accompanied by dizziness (too often!)

I will update as I have appointments & information available.