excess mucus in lungs

gardenbug__(texas z8)August 10, 2004

Hello, my husband has asthma, and has been having problems with excess mucus production. I have given him Mullein tea, I am not sure how often he needs to drink this. I have made him hot lemonade and honey, this seem to thin it out, but when he goes to bed, his coughing keeps him up, I know that you have to watch which cough med. to take with asthma. He is on Theophylline and Albutrol. Does anyone have any advice about this problem ? I would really, really , appreciate some advice from others that might have this same problem.

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johnyb(QLD Aust)

Hi gardenbug,

A naturopath will look to treat more than excess mucous production when treating your husband. That is obviously his main incapacitating symptom, but factors such as diet, age, lifestyle, allergies, immune status, health history, family health history, and of course his medications need to be considered.

Very hard to give advice over the net without all the info, best you see a herbalist/naturopath in person, many people find we can help their condition.


    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 6:28PM
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gardenbug__(texas z8)

Thanks, John, will do.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2004 at 7:05PM
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Definitely need to be under supervision by a healthcare provider for such severe asthma. I found my asthma improved when I gave up dairy. Also, remove any known allergens from the house, this includes pets if they are aggravators. Other triggers may include household cleaners, gasoline fumes, car exhaust, cigarettes (at one point my asthma was so severe, simply walking by someone in a crowd who was smoking would set me off), perfumes, etc.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 7:35AM
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I'll second herbalbetty's advice - possible allergic triggers should be investigated, if they haven't been already.

Your healthcare provider can be asked if there are newer meds that would do a better job of controlling the asthmatic attacks and the excess mucus production that go along with them. Theophylline is an older drug that is not used as much now for mainline therapy. It can also cause problems with toxicity and has to be carefully monitored in some patients. Here's a list of asthma drugs you may want to ask his doctor about.

There's also research on a drug targeted at the mucus production itself.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2004 at 11:00AM
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johnyb(QLD Aust)


Are you by any chance a doctor?


    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 6:35AM
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Bethany_Z5(Rural Z5)

It would be advisable for your hubby to go off dairy products to see if that helps.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2004 at 10:27AM
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as a fellow sufferer, who is not a doctor, the following has worked for me...
1) accupuncture-- this is something i would have never tried, as i am terrified of needles, but a practitioner was recomended to me for pain relief,
i just happened to have an astma attack before my appointment, and she has been very helpful in my stopping the prednisone and nebulizers (which i used 4-5x day)
2) no dairy- milk, yoghurt,cheese etc, acccording to the accupuncturist, the above contributes to mucus production.
3) yoga-- an other new thing i would not have considered, but the accupuncturist sent me to an instructor who is great with those of us who can not breathe.

Believe it or not, the duo has gotten me to a point where in the last 3 months,i have taken almost no drugs and while i still have astma, and will always have it, it is more under control than anytime in recent years.

my lung specialist is so intrigued, that he has appointment with the yoga instrucor to learn more about how to help his patients with alternative medical advice. it is a begining.

hang in there, and soon you will both take a deep breath.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 11:43AM
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angeles13(z9 Phx dtwn)

as another asthmatic (with c.o.p.d, also); what has helped me was loosing weight (+70lbs), taking all the carpet out of my home, removing the vertical and horizontal blinds - replaced them with curtains that are washed and vacuumed; using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.

Dairy products are not a trigger for me, so I can continue to use them. A major trigger for me is smoke from fire extinguishers and the fake smoke used in bars and dance clubs.

Also -- check your house for any type of mold (my old apartment had it -- I would have attacks and problems until I moved out) -- since moving out of that apartment and into my home, I have been fortunate in not having an attack for over 2 years. Albuterol and Pregnisone (sp???) were the inhailers I was one. The albuterol would make my heart race horribly (either that or not breath)

Good luck in finding a physician that respects and understands that treating a disease or problem is more than just pumping the body full of medication (that can, at times be worse than the disease).

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 3:36PM
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you are so right.
i have never been asthmatic until exposed to mold in our dream home, which is still being cleaned up after 1 full year of discovering the mold problem.
i know, i should loose weight also, but it seems a daunting task for me.
how did you do it>>>

    Bookmark   August 28, 2004 at 4:58PM
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angeles13(z9 Phx dtwn)

hi irene,

I lost my weight with Atkins. Yes, Atkins. My family is amazed because before I went on the diet, I never ate vegetables. Now I love them, and eat fruit and berries. Please read his first book before making a judgement, it's not dropping all carbohydrates. It is about eating a diet that has a lot of nutrition and minimal processed foods. The book/diet also mentions that there are several types of people (kidney, pregnant, etc.) that should not be on this diet. For the first four months, I did not use any of the weightloss products/foods/etc for any of the low-carb diets -- just by using real food.

Also, I am a diagnosed hypoglycemic, so I really need to watch the sugar/sugar types I consume. And because of the nature of this diet, I was able to lose the weight. I've kept the weight (the 70lbs) off for over 1 year now and in October will be registering with the National Weight Loss Directory. I have an aunt who is a diabetic who has lost over 40lbs with the South Beach diet (under guidance of her physician). My cholesteral level is 147. My blood presure is 92/60. heart rate is between 95 - 105 (i do consume a lot of caffene). I don't get the shakiness anymore from low blood sugar (where my hands would be visably trembling).

With any diet, what I have found, if I feel like cheating, or hungry all the time - then there was something lacking in that particular diet. The low fat diets were very difficult for me since I am sensative to the sugars that are used for flavor in substitute for the removal of the fat.

I keep a daily food diary. That helps alot. Realizing what a portion actually is, and finding healthy foods to snack on when I was in-between meals (nuts -- I eat alot of nuts). I would weigh my self first thing in the morning (after going to the bathroom) twice a week and record that in my food diary. I also took my measurements and kept track of that. The measurements were great!!! When it didn't show any weight loss on the scale, I was losing inches (and dropping clothing sizes).

About 99% of my grocery shopping is at Trader Joe's and of that about 90% is organic. I just got tired of all the chemicals and antibiotics added into foods. Wholesome, minimally processed food just tastes so nice.

A sample daily menu

iced coffee sweatened with a non-sugar substitue (splenda, nutrasweet) - the ice cubes are frozen coffee
scrambled eggs in butter
two or three slices of whole milk, low moisture mozzarella cheese
2 slices of bacon or a small 2-3oz hamburger patty

tuna fish with mayonaise (organic from trader joe's), parsley, garlic, kosher salt stuffed into a half of a whole wheat pita or by itself (the tuna)
a small salad with a vinagrette dressing, no croutons; I have never been a big fan of salad dressing, so I don't use more than maybe 1 1/2tsps or less
or steamed mashed cauliflower mixed with butter and cream cheese and herbs (the herbs are in the butter)

macadamia, pecans, walnuts partially frozen, about 4oz each with 2-3 oz of mozarella, monteray jack and shepard's cheese

either hamburger (cow or buffalo - which ever I have thawed); a grilled or broiled chicken breast; or fish steak (sea bass, swordfish, tuna or mahi mahi)
asparagus steamed in salad dressing (in the microwave) and then flash broiled in a broiler with grated asiago cheese
a small salad (with out croutons) - either ceasar or a mixed greens
brocholli (i like the stems - it's odd but it's the only way I have ever eaten it) - usually steamed or green beans quick stir fryed in butter and olive oil and garlic

blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and/or strawberries, partially thawed in whipped cream (sweated with a non-sugar sweatener)

Daily water --- 60 to 120oz daily.
A multi-vitamen when i remember :)
a lot of iced coffee when at home. I quit drinking diet soda, except when out of the house, then I will have a glass of water also.

Exercise -- In the begining, I would just walk the dog for a few blocks every nite, building up slowly, generally after work. Now, I ride my bike about 5 miles every other day in summer, in Phoenix, during the heat of the day; and yard work around the house.

For the first time in many years, I haven't been sick at the change of seasons with bronchitis. My skin looks great and I haven't needed the inhailers.(I still have them, in case of an emergency) I am still sensative to smoke and the fake smoke, but that is far easier to control.

also, the biggest part is wanting to lose the weight. no amount of my mom or sister or other family members or doctors telling me that I was fat/overweight and to lose weight mattered. Once I made the decision and made the choice (after yo-yo dieting before) -- you will know -- it was easy. Having a supportive family helped. Best part (for the ego -- people i haven't seen before the weight loss are oh, my god!!! you lost weight!!)

good luck, it is a decision that only you can make, for your own health.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2004 at 9:12PM
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Thirsty_Houstonian(z9 TX)

I agree with Eric that it's strange that theophylline is being used, as it has a narrow therapeutic index. Therapeutic index is basically the difference between what amount is effective and what amount is toxic. So, speaking of theophylline, there's very little difference between the amount used to treat asthma and the amount where you get side effects. Also, there are a number of diseases and other drugs which can make it hard to calculate the right amount of theophylline to take, i.e. to not overdose. According to my pharmacy class notes, theophylline "dosing should probably be through pharmacokinetics consult".

I've heard that, typically, an inhaled corticosteroid is prescribed if the asthma is severe enough (some of these are listed under Eric's link). However, I'm sure your husband's doctor has his reasons; most likely, due to some drug-drug or drug-disease interaction that prevents him from taking a different med. Anyways, when taking theophylline, apparently many over-the-counter drugs can interact with it, as indicated below.

Excerpted from attached link:
"tell your doctor and pharmacist what nonprescription medications and vitamins you are taking, including ephedrine, epinephrine, phenylephrine, phenylpropanolamine, or pseudoephedrine. Many nonprescription products contain these drugs (e.g., diet pills and medications for colds and asthma), so check labels carefully. Do not take these medications without talking to your doctor; they can increase the side effects of theophylline."

(The attached link also has some other prescription medications that it could interact with.)

I am not a doctor and the above is not a substitute for medical advice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Theophylline Overview

    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 12:35AM
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purplemoon0130(z8 LA)

I used to get excercise induced asthma. For some strange reason, my last attack was when I was around 28. Maybe because I got less active? HaHa What helped me was breathing cool or cold air and drinking lots of water to loosen the mucus, so when I coughed more mucus was dispursed and I coughed less. Tell him to sleep on 2 or 3 pillows so coughing will be lessened also. Everyone is different, so consult physician and try keeping a daily diary of foods consumed and any chemical contact that may have been exposed to.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 3:41PM
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NOw i don't remember where i heard this or how accurate it is, but caffeine can help because it does something to the bronchial tubes.

I'm not gonna say no dairy. But you may want to nix it 4-5 hours before bedtime or only do it in the morning. Have him drink some tea with honey. If its allergenic the local honey has pollen in it to help the body get used to it. It may not work and i'd ask a dr or something about any dangerous side effects of that. Just in case.

It would probably help if you explained your husbands condition and what triggers it. That way people can get more specific.

gotta round up kid again and toss him in bed.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 8:01PM
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Thirsty_Houstonian(z9 TX)

Yeah, caffeine is chemically similar to theophylline. They both open up your airways, but theophylline is better for this. Naturally, caffeine is better as a stimulant.

I would not recommend taking both at the same time, as it would increase the likelihood of getting theophylline toxicity. Sorry about not mentioning this-- it's in the link of my previous post:

"Drinking or eating foods high in caffeine, like coffee, tea, cocoa, and chocolate, may increase the side effects caused by theophylline. Avoid large amounts of these substances while you are taking theophylline."

    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 11:51PM
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ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Thats good to know. Disregard the caffeine thing.

and that must suck too. no cofee when on the stuff:(

    Bookmark   September 2, 2004 at 9:48PM
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herbman(norflk england)

I would suggest you consult a comptent herbalist first; however if you want to try decongestant herbs first deside wether the condision is hot or cold (mucus white or clear=cold) cold condition horseradish or elecampe, Hot white horehound.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2004 at 6:03AM
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cryshellia(z9 CA, US)

My asthma is triggered by allergies... Everyone has different allergic triggers, so be very aware of what is triggering the asthma.

If the symptoms occur the most in bed, there may be dust or mold causing them, or something eaten before bed.

Suggestions for preparing the bedroom to reduce allergens:

-wash bedding and curtains once a week to reduce pollen, mold, dust
-shower before bed to get pollen, dust, any triggers off body/hair
-dust/vacuum once a week
-get allergen covers for mattress and pillows, (to prevent dust mites and mold from getting out)
-get an air purifier w/ HEPA filter
-use a dehumidifier in the bedroom
-keep windows closed if the outdoors are triggering a reaction
-keep cough drops by the bed, and suck on them when falling asleep - use two if necessary.

The problem may be inflammation in the lungs as well as mucus. Often, inflammation will make mucus seem worse, because the mucus will increase slightly and have less room to move around in, in the inflamed passages.

Thyme, sage, mullein, yarrow are good for asthma teas - decongesting, warming.

Be careful of your diet:
I've heard that caffeine helps some, hurts others. Some have reactions from citrus fruits and dairy, and some don't. Just have your hubby pay attention to what makes him feel better/worse.

Make sure he gets plenty of the nutrients/vitamins/minerals he need, and nothing that will increase the problem. Eat warm foods when possible, avoid processed foods and vegetable oils. Hydrogenated oils will increase inflammation and lower immune system function. Omega-3 oils (in certain fish like salmon, sunflower seeds) will help decrease inflammation. Also, drink enough water - this keeps you hydrated and helps flush out the nasty stuff. Avoid sodas, which will dehydrate and defeat the immune system. Drink juice too - vitamin C! Trader Joes also makes a wonderful Lemon Ginger Echinacea juice, which is lovely when warm - spicy, decongesting, comforting too.

And, regular exercise helps!!! It may trigger asthma, but it still helps, because it gets everything in the body moving - including the mucus.

If it's worse in winter when cold, breathe through a scarf when outside...excercise indoors.

Good luck to all of you with asthma!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2004 at 1:18PM
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trudika(northwest Idaho)

please get rid of your carpet if possible. it is a big thing in America but is full of bad chemicals and attracts alot of dirt, dust, etc. which you breath in.... In Europe we had all natural fiber rugs(lots) in our house, wood floors or compacted,sealed dirt. We'd clean the rugs by beating them regularily outside with a broom stick.keep the house very clean free of Molds. Airing your house out daily and using all down duvets, cotton bedding, no synthetics, help alot. Try to buy cotton, linen, wool, silk, etc. no artificial stuff. Drink 1 glass carrot/vege mix juice daily as this is great for the health. An apple in the morning will keep you regulated and no constipation.or 2 apples.
I hope this helps. Much luck to you.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2004 at 3:12AM
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scryn(z6 NY)

Dairy does make you very mucousy. I think giving up dairy would help him a lot. It is a start at least. Maybe he can give up half of it to see if there is a benefit.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2004 at 4:39PM
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I also found that a moderately low-carb program helped me avoid persistent coughing etc. (Not asthmatic, told I possibly had adult-onset asthma, but I don't care for that diagnosis at all!). I don't avoid dairy, but drink little milk, mostly eat live yogurt.

I find ginger very helpful in thinning phlegm and reducing associated coughing. That's LOTS of ginger, by the way...if I use 1-2 knobs of fresh ginger daily (going through a pack of ginger every 2 days or so), grated or shredded into tea, then 2-3 days will see a big difference in the coughing and phlegm.

My father was a pharmacist, who inherited a recipe from his doctor father for a variation on Gee's Linctus, a compound cough syrup based on Squill. His recipe did not include any kind of opiate, but did include ginger. I believe you can still buy Gee's Linctus over the counter, but check the ingredients and check with your doctor - squill is fairly strong stuff, though Gee's Linctus is considered safe for children. I don't use it myself, because I find the ginger alone more helpful. Please note, I have no medical training myself!

I also use a low-dust vacuum cleaner, and dietary changes which help me fight off colds (also gargling etc) are very helpful.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2004 at 8:42PM
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angeles13, hi awesome on your weight loss, I have asthma as well and they once prescribed me prednisone as well which is actually steroids and made me gain weight fast! no moreprednisone now, healthier diet and im back at 120..good for you!!!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2004 at 9:48PM
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Hello everyone!

I read at this place http://www.amateur-job.com/medic/
about astma treatment with such drugs as Antihistamines, Cromolyn sodium, Nasal steroid sprays. Can you tell me how good are this staff?

Here is a link that might be useful: medical help

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 8:17PM
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catnip7(z6 NJ)

Check out a website that I found very helpful

    Bookmark   June 10, 2007 at 8:38PM
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The talk show host running www.knowthecause.com appears to be one of those people who blame fungi for virtually every disease on the planet. I found the site to be full of misinformation and bad advice.

For instance, Kaufman claims that virtually all cases of chronic sinusitis are caused by fungi (there's no evidence for this sweeping claim, as other infectious agents, allergy and genetics are thought to have a role) and that fungal infection is commonly misdiagnosed as cancer (another nonsensical claim).

The great majority of asthma cases are not due to fungi.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 12:22PM
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Ditto! The majority of chronic sinusitis has been said to be caused by smoking, but no one wants to hear that!

    Bookmark   June 12, 2007 at 6:18AM
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I need some help with my son. He is 17 years old and has had a chronic cough since fall of 06. We have seen several doctors including a pulmonary specialist, 2 ENT doctors, and are currently seeking holistic help. He has had every test in the book and nobody can figure out what is wrong with him. He does not have asthma, cystic fybrosis or any blood disorders. He does have excessive mucus in his lungs, swollen lymph nodes, and lymph tissue on his tonsils. All of his doctors are stumped. Our current holistic treatment consists of herbal supplements, a strict diet and food testing for allergies, and chiropractic treatments. Not so sure this is going to work but are willing to try anything to get him better. Any suggestions or help is truly appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 7:59PM
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I can understand your feeling compelled to try anything to make your son feel better, but the first priority before selecting any treatment is to get a diagnosis.

For that you may need to seek out a center of excellence with physicians trained to diagnose and treat unusual lung problems.

I recommend saving the money you're putting into supplements, allergy tests (unless administered by a competent allergist who has cause to think they might be helpful) and chiropractic, and instead getting a good consultant's opinion.

Has he had a lung biopsy?

Here is a link that might be useful: Mayo Clinic of Scottsdale

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 9:39PM
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Ditto what Eric said!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2007 at 5:57AM
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A lung biopsy is about the only thing he hasn't had. Well, he did have a bronchial surgery last December and they did take a piece of mucus out to test for Cystic Fybrosis, also had a sweat test for that as well. His doctors, especially his pulmonary doctor seemed to have tried everything. He has had chest and neck cat scans and they show a metalic object in his neck (?) as well as swollen lymph nodes. When we were referred to a surgeon to get the metal removed and the lymph node biopsied for lymphoma...the surgeon removed a salivary gland instead!!!! I cant seem to get an answer or a good diagnosis from anyone, they are truly mystified. I was going to try the Mayo Clinic or Shands hospital next, but thought the holistic might work..........he seems to think he can help him, but my son is miserable on this detox diet and its very expensive. Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2007 at 7:04PM
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He sounds like he's got way too many (and serious) problems to even think about going to alternative meds now. And are you suing that surgeon? Can't your family MD refer you to the Mayo or at least a surgeon who knows his anatomy? Do NOT put your son on some cockamamy diet or herbal meds or anything else, but do get him diagnosed properly once and for all. Be assertive (not noisy or rude though :-). WHAT metallic object? Haven't you asked for a definitive answer to that one?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2007 at 5:57PM
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I have stopped going to the alternative medicine doctor. Every day I find out different things about his health. His pediatrician just informed me that we SHOULD have taken a TB test and they never did, so we need to get that done. YES, I am definately seeking a lawyer for that surgeon. He never did do what he was supposed to do and we have no idea what the long range health risks are when someone removes your salivary gland. Regarding the metal object......they have all told me that they dont want to mess with his neck if they dont have to, and unless that is some form of lead, its better to keep it there than to remove it. I am being referred to an infectious disease doctor..........next step, get tested for TB and get a needle biopsy for his lymph nodes. I have been in touch with a doctor from a well known hospital not in my area and they instructed me to do these two tests before we travel to go see them.............its endless. I am trying to be assertive but when several doctors and specialist tell us that they have no idea what is wrong with him, its hard to demand anything.
Thanks for your help and input.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 7:12AM
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well, its been awhile since I have been on here but found out some more things about my son and wanted to see if any one has gone through this. He finally had a lung biopsy. Several tests were run and we are still waiting for results but they did find that he has inflammation in his lung tissues(pneumonitosis) and that the mucus in his lungs is very thick and constant. He is on two antibiotics, two breathing treatments and we are on our way to see an immune specialist. If anyone has had these symptoms or heard of anything like this, suggestions on how to help are appreciated. Thanks

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 10:37AM
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It's an inflammation like any other, and I'd wait to see what the MD's say about it, only I would check on the spelling as I'm not quite sure if you got that part right. One thing I'm curious about - if he has 'lead' in his neck, it didn't get there on it's own and usually indicates something like a bullet - how remote is that possibility? Salivary glands are removed all the time for various reasons and it shouldn't have any serious negative impact on the future.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 6:05PM
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Its not actually lead, he was tested for that, and as far as he knows, he has never been shot in the neck......that is still a mystery but they don't seem too concerned over that.

We are still waiting for several tests to come back. In the meantime, I have been looking up foods that might decrease mucus in the lungs. I figured that can't hurt. The correct spelling of what they found in pneumonitis.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 7:15AM
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I previously thought when it comes to my issues with mucus and breathing that I was alone. Like most of you, I have been through the bouts with all the doctor visits over the past months. I have been to the pulminologist, the E.r, had three chest x-rays all clear, had an endoscopy, ct scan, and even an ultrasound. It keeps me in amazement that each test tells me nothing is wrong. I felt confused hoping each time that i would be told "we found the problem," only for the doctor to tell me it might be stress related and possibly in my head. After spending enough money to fund a small war, I finally went to the dentist. I had not known before that gum disease or periondental disease could cause many malfunctions within the body. One being respiritory and lung malfunction. it seems that the teeth and gums can cause the body to produce toxins that invade the blood and organs... especially the lungs. These toxins cause the body to produce excess mucus. Especially for those of us who have been living with asma, bronchitis, or any form of copd. So, please, if yo have gone to every length and have found what seems to be no answer, go to a dentist and have them check for gum disease. If you have it, chances are it has caused your respiratory issue. (This should be noted that this is stated as an opinion and your individual results may vary). GO SEE YOUR DENTIST... PLEASE

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 1:41AM
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Wow. Thanks! It's been nearly 3 years now. I got bronchitis in Jan of '08, and it's been an on & off battle ever since.

I'll try out my dentist. I wouldn't be surprised if all I need is an antibiotic (seeing as I keep having bouts with broncitis). I've been to 2 doctors, and they both told me nothing was wrong (at least not wrong enough to prescribe something).

kas22862 & fcgbusiness, THANK YOU! It gives me hope to know I might be able to breathe enough to sleep again!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 4:22AM
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I too have excess muccuss in my lungs.The muccuss is produced by the lung in response to airway inflammation due to my asthma.I was exposed for a very short period to insulation batt dust which re triggered my asthma.Currently i am on symbicort twice daily which controls my asthma.But ia m constantly have muccuss as well in my nose.My nose is consistently clogged up.
Living with asthma.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:37PM
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