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[IP] Asthma and Diabetes

Dear Wayne, Dawn and IP list,

  >Just for the record Dawn, asthma is definitely NOT an autoimmune disease.

Hello people.  Please be kind to this shy lurker.  I'm almost phobic about
posting to a list, but I felt the need to add a qualification to the common
belief that asthma is NOT an autoimmune reaction.  Asthma, like diabetes, is
a YMMV disease.  Not every asthmatic has an autoimmune reaction to an
allergen. Consider my situation, if you will, please. 

I am regularly a patient of the endocrinology and pulmonary departments of
The Mayo Clinic.  I am 52 year old female, IDDM, Humalog pumping MODY from a
documented long line of MODY's (Maturity Onset Diabetes in the Young).  For
more than a decade, Mayo's pulmonary research department has successfully
treated my "full blown" asthma. Dr. Butterfield says my lengthy history of
what I used to call "the uncommon cold" has always been clearly undiagnosed,
incorrectly treated asthma.

  >In asthma the immune system is attacking foreign allergens, not body tissues.

After repeated extensive testing for allergens, they confirmed that I have
NO allergies...not a one.  However, they DID conclude that my asthma is
definitely an autoimmune response to three specific manageable "triggers".
        1.   changes in temperature: 
                        (they taught me to breathe differently during the 
                        transition to a drastic temperature change, ie. 
                        stepping out the door into a Michigan winter day 
                        or stepping out the door from air conditioning to 
                        a blast of hot August air.)
        2.   laughter
                        (this "trigger" is my most difficult to avoid, as I 
                        laugh frequently and heartily and must recognize and 
                        tone down my natural "belly laugh" to a less asthma 
                        evoking form...  mid-hysterics... no easy feat.)  
        3.   petroleum based fumes
                        (a few situational adjustments reduce this "trigger" to 
                        a rarity.  I stand upwind while pumping gas, and avoid 
                        exhaust fumes, nail polishing, oil based paints and 
                        tire stores.  My asthma and Vic's Vapo Rub no longer
                        talk.  Duh.)

The good news is that NOW I rarely have the "uncommon cold" more than once a
year, if that.  I used to suffer through bouts of asthma at least 6 to 10
times a year.  Life is great, now!  Breathing clearly is a bonus!

  >In fact, the incidence of asthma among diabetics is far lower than in the
general population.

Perhaps across the entire group of diabetics one could conclude the above
statement is correct.  I don't have any information on that broad ranged
statistic, one way or another.  BUT I don't believe Dr. Butterfield was
humoring me, when he explained that "This form of autoimmune response is
commonly found in diabetics of the MODY variety."

I appologize for the lengthy soap box stance.  I'll let you all have the
stage and I'll return to lurker mode. This list has been a great source of
knowledge, support and comfort for me.  I hope I explained my understanding
of my particular form of asthma, without offending too many.  I expect I
will have to roll with the punches.  I'll brace myself.  :o)  Thank you for
hearing me out, though.  

Bess Harris

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