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Let's Cure Some Health Problems - Scott Adams' Blog

Let’s Cure Some Health Problems

If you read the article in Wired about my voice (see yesterday’s post) you know I’m interested in helping other people who have spasmodic dysphonia get the same cure that I got. They just need to know that the fix exists, and of course their health insurance needs to pay for it. As demand for the operation increases, additional surgeons will presumably learn how to do the procedure.

All you need to do is vote up the Wired article on Reddit or Digg, thus making it more likely that anyone who has spasmodic dysphonia learns there is a solution. That’s the first health problem you will fix today. But I have another health issue for you to fix this morning.

Several years ago I got adult asthma. Apparently a lot of adults are getting asthma lately, which is unusual. Experts don’t know why adults are suddenly getting it in large numbers. Obviously it has something to do with lifestyle or environment. But what? That’s what you’re going to help me answer today, thus finding a solution to a second health condition in one morning.

For the past several years my asthma was nothing more than inconvenient, and I only needed prescription inhalers for a few weeks every years. It was no big deal. But about two months ago my asthma jumped into overdrive. Even the prescription inhalers couldn’t keep up. I could barely walk up stairs. What changed?

Unfortunately there were too many variables. It didn’t seem to depend on where I was, or whether the pets were around. It got worse at night, but that is typical of everyone’s asthma.

Perhaps it was the weeds or trees or plants sprouting in the springtime, but could they be that much worse this year than last? Maybe, but that seemed unlikely. I wasn’t having any allergy symptoms.

I fired up Google and started doing some research on what opens the bronchial airways. According to several sources online, i.e. strangers with no credibility, several common foods are excellent for relieving asthma symptoms. They included apples, pears, grapes, garlic, and onions. Antioxidants in general were reportedly good, but those particular foods were singled out.

So I started snarfing down lots of apples, pears, grapes, and garlic extract pills. Within 24 hours my asthma was reduced from about a 9 on a scale of 1-10 to maybe a 3, and it has stayed that way for a week. My prescription meds easily mop up the remaining problem, and I started my regular exercise regime again.

At about the beginning of my two months of asthma hell, I had consciously deleted citrus and spicy foods from my diet because I read that they excite the bladder and make you feel the need to pee more than you should. I’m all about efficiency, so I figured peeing less would be a good thing. And it worked, on that level. (Try drinking a glass of orange juice and see how long before your bladder starts yelling at you. I’ll bet you never noticed it before.)

The downside is that those same foods are, as I now hypothesize, what protected me from the worst of the asthma symptoms. And this makes me wonder if the reason more adults are getting asthma these days is a change in what we eat. Are we getting fewer antioxidants than previous generations? Or are there more pollutants and irritants now, so we need more antioxidants than before?

If you have asthma, try apples, grapes, pears, and garlic for a week. Then tell me if you feel any different. Obviously the placebo effect can’t be ruled out, but if it works for you too, researchers might want to take a closer look.