Category Archives: Asthma awareness

History of asthma

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History of Asthma

The earliest recorded reference to respiratory distress – a disorder characterized by “noisy breathing” (wheezing?) is found in China in 2600 BC.
The Babylonian “Code of Hammurabi” recorded symptoms of breathlessness: “If a man’s lungs pant with his work.”  (1792-1750 BC).
Hippocrates (~400 BC) was the first to use the term “Asthma” (Greek for “wind” or “to blow”) for panting and respiratory distress.  He is considered to be the physician who identified the relationship between the environment and respiratory disease correlating climate and location with illness.  Some suggest he was the first allergist.
When Alexander the Great invaded India, smoking the herb stramonium (an anticholinergic agent related to ipratropium and tiotropium currently used in inhalers) was used to relax the lungs.
Roman doctors described asthma as gasping and the inability to breathe without making noise.  They noted “if from running or any other work, the breath becomes difficult, it is called asthma.”  Pliny the elder (~ 50 AD) observed that pollen was a source of respiratory difficulty and recommended the use of “ephedra” (forerunner of ephedrine) in red wine as an asthma remedy.  Unfortunately, he also suggested that drinking the blood of wild horses and eating 21 millipedes soaked in honey could help.
The Jewish Talmud (200-500 AD) counseled “drinking three weights of hiltith,” a resin of the carrot family as a therapy for asthma.  Maimonides (1135-1204 AD), Jewish scholar and Saladin’s physician treated the Egyptian’s son for asthma.  His “Treatise on Asthma” prescribed rest, good personal hygiene and environment, avoidance of opium, a small quantity of wine and a special diet.  Nuts, fruit, milk, cool vegetables and legumes (peanuts are a member of this family) were forbidden, while “The soup of fat hens” was considered beneficial.
Tobacco introduced from the America’s to Europe (1500’s), was used to induce coughing and expectorate mucus.  In Central America, Aztecs ingested an ephedra containing plant to clear mucus and, in South America, Incas treated asthma with a cocaine-like dried leaf.  In the 1800’s, Arsenic was prescribed for respiratory conditions.  In the early 1900’s, allergy immunotherapy was first introduced to treat asthma.
Asthma medicines of the 1940’s and 1950’s consisted of epinephrine injections (adrenaline) and aminophylline tablets or suppositories.  In the 1960’s oral combinations were the staples of chronic therapy.  Inhalation of epinephrine (Primatene) and isoproterenol (Isuprel) were used as rescue agents.  Oral prednisone was and continues to be prescribed for severe disease.
Since the Allergy and Asthma Medical Group & Research Center was founded in 1969, many therapeutic advances have occurred.   Inhaled bronchodilator medications are less likely to stimulate the heart and are available in both short and long acting formulations.  Inhaled corticosteroids target the underlying inflammation and minimize the potential cortisone side effects seen with the tablet and liquid products.  Our clinical research department is currently actively evaluating new asthma therapies that promise to further benefit patients.
Though asthma has been a known entity for over two and a half millennia, nearly 25 million people in the United States still suffer from this condition.  However, we have come a long way in understanding its causes and triggers and have made large strides in our ability to treat and control it.  We pledge to continue to give our best efforts to expertly and compassionately care for our patients with asthma.



This painting could save a child

Make a life easier for a child to breath. If you know of child that suffers from asthma, ask them a simple question; “What is it like to have asthma”? See and hear from their perspective how it feels not to breath.

That’s why “Tenderness”, the proceeds from the sale one of my original paintings for my upcoming exhibit “Gift of the Rose”, will be donated to the Golisano’s Children’s Hospital to further benefit the Pediatric Asthma Support. One of the best gifts you could give is helping save a child’s life!

tenderness of mother and child, yellow rose gift of the rose collection I’m inspired to paint flowers because I see the parallel lives between nature and human lives, perfect example is tenderness.  In “Tenderness” I feel the bond and tenderness between a parent and child, the maternal instinct to protect and nurture. This beautiful piece was in the May issue of American Art Collector and in the Xanadu’s Gallery Collectors Catalogue. It’s an 20×16″ oil panting on Ampersand Gessobord. Painting is $400, delivered or mailed after the exhibit.

A Moment of Silence

Thirteen years ago today, we lost our sister and best friend to lifelong battle with asthma. It was devastating and unthinkable that the youngest sibling would pass on before any of us including my parents. A day doesn’t go by that we think of her…

Margarita Martinez

Today is also Memorial Day, a day to honor men and women who have given their life for our freedom, for it’s not cheap, it’s priceless! I’m specially proud of my daughter, 1st Airman Jasmine Huertas, we love you!

Jasmine Huertas USAF

Honor a soldier or a loved one today, simply take a moment of silence wherever you are to show your appreciation , kindness and love.

Orange Rose for moms

Then go beyond and pass on…

Allergies or a cold? Take the quiz

This is one of our “discussions”, is it allergies or a cold? We know spring is here or coming, how about other times of the year?

“Parents’ offers this interesting quiz to help us figure it out and breath a little easier, thanks “Parents”!

spring trees allergies or a coldasthma

Quiz: Does Your Child Have Allergies or a Cold?

11 Smart Ways to Prevent Allergies

Have you ever wondered if your child has allergies or asthma, here are great tips from “Parents” on prevention tips…I love the outfits!

11 Smart Ways to Prevent Allergies

Spring has sprung and you’re tempted to fling open the windows and…ah-choo! No, you shouldn’t have to put on a face mask this time of the year. These simple strategies will help keep stuffiness and sneezing at bay–inside and out.
By Lambeth Hochwald

Be my guest!

I’m preparing for my “Live Painting Demonstrations” at Outside the Box Art Gallery in Fairport, proceeds will go to the Golisano’s Children’s Hospital to further benefit the Pediatric Asthma Support. We will have a special guest to answer any questions about Asthma! Hope to see you there!

Who knows I may give it a try to paint these chic shoes?

Calling all ladies black Baccara roses




Time: 11am-5pm

Location: Outside the Box Art Gallery , 6 north Main st, Faiprort, NY 14450



Help support my vision of children without asthma

Bunch of pink rosesJoin me this Saturday May 12, 2012 from 11am-5pm, at Outside the Box Art Gallery for “Live Painting Demonstrations”. Net proceeds from the sale of these demos will go to the Golisano’s Children’s Hospital to further benefit the Pediatric Asthma Support. Learn about asthma management tips and tools to stay healthy. Support a great cause and find something special for mom!

See you Saturday!

10 Secrest for surviving asthma

This is a post from crispy about an adult diagnosed with asthma, it can happen at any age.


Imagine my surprise when, as an adult, I was diagnosed with Asthma? It was very alarming.
I was hiking at Spray Falls in the Mt. Rainier area about 15 years ago. I am an active person and didn’t understand why I had shortness of breath while traversing up the mountain. I had to keep stopping. Talk about a long hike. When I reached the top, somehow I managed to shoot a great deal of pictures. Spray Falls is one of the most gorgeous sites I’ve seen. Since that incident, I haven’t returned. I plan to go back someday to take more pictures.
At home, the shortness of breath continued for weeks. I had to keep going outside for air and didn’t understand what was going on. It was getting scary. What was going on?
I finally went to an allergist, blew in a tube and took some tests, and he informed me that I had asthma! What? How could that be? Where did this come from?
I was sent home with a preventive inhaler for daily use and an emergency inhaler to use during an attack. Even though I had the preventive inhaler, I refused to use it. I was still in denial that I needed it. I happened to be out on the trail one day with Mark and experienced a severe asthma attack. For some reason I had the preventive inhaler with me and not the emergency inhaler. Of course, the preventive one doesn’t work during an attack. I managed to survive.
That awful experience forced me to finally listen to the doctor and start puffing daily. At first my voice went away, but I was breathing and that’s all that mattered.
After using the higher dosage for a while, I was able to switch to a lower daily dosage. After doing that for a while, I felt like my asthma was gone forever and stopped using my meds. I was so happy that I was cured and could go on with normal life. After about a week, my asthma returned with a vengeance and the attacks got the best of me. I was spending the nights in hotels and hanging out in movie theatres and malls just so I could have some air. I didn’t have air conditioning at my condo. This could not continue. I had to do something.
I got back on the inhaler again and have used it consistently for years on a daily basis. I puff now about every other day unless I start having symptoms. If that happens, I puff more frequently. Different locations in my house and the cars are stashed with puffers, since I never know when disaster will strike.
Panic is the worst thing that anyone can do during an asthma attack because it makes the condition worse. Here are some helpful hints that I learned along the way that I’m happy to share.
1. Don’t panic, go to a designated quite place (mine was my bedroom) and puff, lie down, and RELAX.
2. Sit down next to a hot pan of steamed water or humidifier or get into a hot steamy shower for about 10 minutes.
3. Don’t go outside and breathe cold air; it can set off an attack.
4. Don’t drink cold water, drink hot water daily. It’s good to steam your lungs!
5. Don’t EVER STOP using your daily inhaler “cold turkey”. Talk to your doctor before making any changes.
6. Don’t overeat! You might feel pressure on your lungs.
7. Have an emergency stash of inhalers in different parts of your house. Carry one with you when you are away from home.
8. Replace your carpet with hardwood floors.
9. Keep your windows closed especially during pollen season. Invest in an air conditioner if you can afford it.
10. To eliminate dust, buy a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. Other Non-HEPA vacuums can redistribute dust in other parts of the house.
Always remember that If you are short of breath or think you have asthma please consult your health care professional

Thinking About Medications: A Guide for Parents

I found this wonderful post by Craig Canapari, MD at: and thought you might be interested. My 9 year old recently had a cold that was turning worse and finally got better, as a parent I’m constantly trying to not only find her relief without over medicating her or ask myself how long should I give her the same medicine? Let me know what you think!

As a specialist, I often prescribe medication to my patients.  I take this responsibility very seriously. I spend a lot of time in clinic discussing concerns about medications with patients and their families. Many patients are skeptical about using medications in their children. I’d like to explain my thinking about using them, and mention some common misconceptions I have come across in clinic.

My Guidelines for Using Medications

  • The goal is effective treatment of symptoms at the minimum necessary dose. Sometimes that may mean more than one medication or medication at a higher dose than previously used. Sometimes that may mean stopping a medicine that a child has taken for years to see if symptoms reoccur or worsen. If you don’t stop a medication in a well patient, you may not know if he still needs it to stay well.
  • Sometimes, trying a medication is the most effective way to make a diagnosis. There are many common conditions where the diagnosis is made primarily from history and physical examination. There may not be an effective test which is not invasive. Take the example of chronic cough in a child. Common causes may include sinusitis, asthma, or gastroesophageal reflux. Sometimes, I’m pretty sure of the cause. Other times, it is less clear. The way I make the diagnosis is that I try treatments for each in sequence. If an albuterol treatment like steroids or albuterol is effective, asthma is likely. If antibiotics fix the cough, sinusitis is probably the cause, etc. For the vast majority of medications, there is no risk for lasting harm to the child when used on a trial basis.
  • Medication use is temporary until there is proven benefit. If I start a child on a medication I will usually see her back in 4-6 weeks to see if the medication is helping. The benefit should be clear-cut in that timeframe. If the parents are not sure they see improvement, I will stop the medication to see if the condition changes. Or, I will prescribe a different medication or dose.

Common Mistakes Parents Make in Thinking About Medication

I encourage my patients and their families to be informed consumers, and I have no difficulty with discussing risks and benefits of treatment.  I’m a parent and would be wary of my sons taking a daily medication too. However, I feel that that are mistakes which people sometimes make when thinking about the idea of using medication in their child.

Fluticasone metered dose inhalerFluticasone metered dose inhaler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Assuming that the absence of treatment is better/less risky that treatment. Let’s say I see a little boy named John who has a nighttime cough and wheezes with exercise due to asthma. He has a little bit of difficulty keeping up with his friends in gym class. A daily inhaled steroid medication like fluticasone (brand name Flovent) may have effects on growth at higher doses. However, there is a cost to doing nothing in terms of sleep disruption, decreased athletic performance, and risk of an asthma flare. My response to families is to suggest trying the fluticasone and seeing if their son’s life is better with the medication. Usually, people notice such an improvement that they feel better about using it.
  • Overestimating the likelihood of severe side effects. Fortunately, the nature of my practice is that I am generally not deploying medications with severe common side effects. A common example is montelukast (brand name Singulair). In 2008 the FDA investigated reports of psychiatric side effects including suicide. They were unclear if the medication actually caused these issues. They were not observed in the large medication trials leading to approval of the medication. A warning was added to the list of “adverse events” by the manufacturer. In my practice, montelukast is a useful medication for many patients and behavioral changes are very rare. (I take montelukast myself for allergic rhinitis and have not noticed any issues). Rarely, kids may get moody on the medication. I stop it, and that goes away. Should we take it seriously? Yes. How common is it? Pretty rare.
  • Not applying the same level of scrutiny to alternative therapies as they do to medications. I have been frustrated at times with families who have refused well-accepted therapies (like the influenza vaccine) based on hearsay from disreputable sources.  In the same breath, they will acknowledge the use of chiropractors or homeopathic remedies. I have no issue with the use of alternative modalities in addition to appropriate medical therapy.   However, it is a fallacy to believe that such treatments are necessarily better, safer, or have fewer side effects. Side effects are identified as the result of large multicenter trials with thousands of patients in them; generally, such trials have not been performed to evaluate alternative therapies. If a provider tells you that they have a treatment which is perfectively effective and has no side effects whatsoever, I would be skeptical.

Obviously, no one wants their child on medications. However, some treatments can make your child healthier, improve his or her life, and avoid serious problems. Be a critical consumer of your child’s health care, but do not shy away from a trial of treatment. Make sure you understand the goal of the treatment, any side effects of therapy, and have a clear follow-up plan to help you make the ultimate decision

Imagine what it’s like not to breath

This year I decided on New Years day to get fit and lose weight, like everyone else, I believe it must be the #1 resolution…every January. So, I started slowly by walking and jogging on the treadmill for at least 30 minutes a day. I then added 10 minutes exercises from my dusty collection of DVD’s. I slowly built up to 30-45 minutes and added weights. I hit a plateau after 6  weeks, so I mixed up the exercises and increased weights from 5 to 8 lbs. End of February I discovered “” and printed their training schedule to run a 5K in 5 weeks! Let me emphasize that the most I could jog or run was 2 minutes!

I’m proud to say that I finished the training and I’m running 3 miles, but all on a treadmill. I joined a good friend who runs 1/2 marathons to run at an outdoor High School track last Saturday because I thought it would be good to run outdoors. It was 32 degrees and windy, although the sun was out, I didn’t see it as a challenge.

Once we started running I was out of breath and wheezing, I’ve heard my sisters, mother and my daughter wheeze but have never experienced what it’s like to not be able to breath and to wheeze. This was a true eye opener for me and I all I could remember was my poor sister feeling this way since she was 5 months old and my mother trying everything possible to bring her relief.

We mostly walked the 3 miles and I was extremely disappointed in myself. My sister was a beautiful, smart and strong woman and if she could accomplish the things she did I will run a 5K, just for her. So, today I registered along with my friend Millie to run my 1st 5K on Mother’s Day for the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. I will continue to run outdoors and try my best. If you would like to make a donation for our team “miles4Cure” you can do so at the following link:–family-fitness-walk

Oh, by the way I’ve lost about 12 pounds and counting, the Easter chocolate set me back a little but it was good!

Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester


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