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Friday, December 16, 2011

Wheezing: Allergies or Something More?

Yes, it’s that time of year again when our vehicles are covered with a layer of fine yellow dust. Spring has sprung and the wind is blowing around every sort of seed and allergen to irritate our normal pattern of breathing.

Our sinuses ache and our noses are running away from us. And you may notice a little wheezing along with your other allergy symptoms, especially if you have a tendency to be asthmatic.

But what if you notice that wheezing and you don’t normally suffer from allergies? Maybe you’re not displaying any other symptoms that you can connect to seasonal allergies. Then it might be time for a check-up with your family doctor.

Sometimes heart failure can display this symptom of wheezing or rattling. But what does wheezing in the lungs have to do with your heart? It’s really quite simple. When your heart is not pumping efficiently, it’s harder for the kidneys to do their job of removing excess fluid from the body.

When this happens then fluid can back up into your lungs, causing this wheezing sound. What you’re actually hearing is the sound of fluid and/or blood “sloshing” as air is passing by when you take a breath. The airways in the lungs are also constricted because of the failure of the heart to do its job well and that also contributes to the wheezing sound.

Fluid of this type can also back up in your hands and feet and sometimes in your abdomen if the heart condition is somewhat advanced. Many doctors will prescribe a water pill or diuretic to alleviate these symptoms. But this is by no means a solution to this potentially serious condition.

What's amazing is the way the medical community will aggressively treat symptoms and then at times they completely ignore the task of actually treating the health problem. Take this wheezing problem as an example. What good does it do to prescribe a water pill to dry up the excess fluid, but ignore the fact that for some reason the heart is not pumping efficiently?

Many people are prescribed a water pill for high blood pressure too. The idea is to prevent damage done by high blood pressure. But why not treat the root causes for these conditions that cause the symptoms of high blood pressure or wheezing. Why not strengthen the heart muscle, circulation, and lungs so they will be wheeze free?

Here are some suggestions that have proven supportive in the functions of the heart. Carnitine is an amino acid that is normally found in the body, but becomes depleted with age. Carnitine has been shown to strengthen the heart muscle and lower cholesterol. Red meat has the highest natural source of carnitine at 95 mg. Dairy and avocados are small sources of carnitine at 2-4 mg. per serving. Caution: large amounts of red meat can counteract the good effects of carnitine.

Magnesium is a very important mineral that is critical to heart health. 20% of patients with heart failure have been shown to be magnesium deficient. Beta-carotene as a powerful antioxidant that has also been effective in reducing incidents of heart attacks among patients with heart failure.

One study found that low levels of Vitamin E were a major risk factor of death from heart disease. Regular exercise under the supervision of a doctor has also been beneficial to patients with heart disease. If you have a serious heart condition, you should always be under the care of a qualified physician.

But discuss these options with your doctor and see if he agrees that it might be a good idea to treat the condition rather than the symptoms.

Sources:, World Health Organization

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