CIDP and asthma

May 16, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I can’t believe I missed this post first time around. Well, better late than never, maybe. I have had difficulty breathing for almost a year. Here is what I just wrote on my own thread:

“Well, after many months, I (sort of) have an answer.

After many visits to my family doctor and various specialists, my doctor finally ordered a high-contrast CT scan of my chest last October. It found “multiple bilateral pulmonary emboli.” That is, multiple blood clots in both lungs. I was rushed to the emergency room, put on powerful anti-clotting medicine (Lovenox), and kept in bed for three days. When I was allowed to get up, the shortness of breath was significantly better, but not gone. However, a repeat CT scan showed that the clots were completely gone. As a precaution, I was kept on Coumadin (so-called blood thinner) for six months.

My pulmonologist suggested that I was deconditioned, since there were no more clots to cause the problems, and recommended that I try to be more active, and become better conditioned. I tried to do that, but between the weakness from CIDP and shortness of breath, it was pretty hard to be active. And the breathing problems just did not get any better.

I went back to my pulmonologist, and he ordered some additional breathing tests. These showed that my smallest air passages were constricted. He called this a form of asthma, and recommended an Albuterol inhaler. It works very well: two puffs, and within minutes my breathing is much improved. So, I think his diagnosis of restricted air passages is correct.

Now, here’s the kicker: I was wondering what would have caused the asthma, which I have never had previously (I am 63). He had noticed on my chart that I was taking Imuran, and asked what that was for. When I told him it was for CIDP, he immediately responded by saying that autoimmune diseases are also known to cause asthma, by causing inflammation of the airways.

He went on to say that autoimmune can also cause blood clots. Since he now knows that I have CIDP, he wants me to stay on Coumadin until my neurologist is confident that my immune system is under control, because he is afraid that I will develop more blood clots. Of course, the time to get my immune system under control might be forever…

So, in summary, I am hearing that my immune system also caused problems with shortness of breath by causing blood clots to form in my lungs, and by triggering asthma.”

An additional comment: if you think there is any chance you have blood clots, get treatment [B]immediately.[/B] It can be life-threatening. My doctor told me that I was lucky that I didn’t just keel over.