Friday, April 30, 2010

See You at Asthma Awareness Day Capitol Hill on May 5!

We’re in the home stretch preparing for our 13th annual Asthma Awareness Day Capitol Hill event and the launch of the Great American Asthma Challenge, the first-ever grassroots movement to eliminate asthma death and suffering.

It’s crazy good at the office. Yes, we’d all like a few more hours to our days and a few of us would like to dream about something other than work in our sleep, but a year’s worth of advocacy efforts is going to pay off on May 5, when 10 members of Congress and NFL Linebacker Chris Draft announce plans to tackle asthma death and suffering once and for all!

It's all happening on Capitol Hill on May 5, starting with a Congressional & Media Breakfast Briefing (8:30-10:30 am, Rayburn House Office Building, Gold Room, 2nd floor) followed by the Asthma & Allergy Health Fair and Free Asthma Screenings (11-1:30 pm, Rayburn Foyer, 2nd floor) -- Click here for more details and directions.

For the 13th year, Talal Nsouli, MD, board-certified allergist, and a team of allergists, nurses and respiratory therapists provide free asthma screenings and consultations. Free pulmonary function tests, NioxMino exhaled nitric oxide tests, TruZone peak flow meters, AeroChamber Plus holding chambers, Allergy Control® Pristine® pillow encasings -- all are available while supplies last at the Asthma and Allergy Health Fair.

Be there if you can! It’s just one block from the Capitol South Metro station (on the blue and orange lines) to the Rayburn House Office Building at 50 Independence Ave. SW. Bring the kids --- the screening is for people of all ages!

And please pass this link  -- -- to your members of Congress:

Click here for members of the Senate.
Click here for members of the House of Representatives.

Many thanks to ExxonMobil, Teva Respiratory, Novartis, American College of Allergy, Asthma &Immunology (ACAAI), Aerocrine, Phadia, Pharmaxis.

OK, I’ve got to run. Have to finish up the agenda and prep for media interviews… need to… SEE YOU THERE!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sunshine on My Shoulder

Extolling the virtues of vitamin D is easy. Plentiful as supplied by Mother Nature, it is often found wanting in children and adults with asthma. A growing cadre of evidence suggests a link between vitamin D levels and asthma severity: the lower the level, the more severe the asthma. Patients with more severe or chronic asthma problems tend to require more inhaled corticosteroid as well. When vitamin D levels are raised, the corticosteroid appears to be more effective.

Makes you think a little about the whole chain of events that take place. If vitamin D levels are low, so is calcium absorption. Calcium builds strong bones, and bones house the marrow where our immune system is fed. Corticosteroids -- oral forms in particular -- deplete calcium, and over time can cause the bones to crumble.

Now, I realize this description is vastly oversimplified, but which came first -- vitamin D depletion or a wayward immune system? While researchers figure it out, eat healthy wholesome vitamin-rich foods, play outside (do not overexpose skin to the sun – 15 minutes is enough) and keep moving! If being outside means inhaling dangerous levels of pollen and fumes, ask your medical care provider to test blood levels of vitamin D. Prescription-strength vitamin D is now available in once-weekly small gel caps.

Come to Asthma Awareness Day Capitol Hill on May 5, 2010 and take the Great American Asthma Challenge pledge to do your part to eliminate asthma death and suffering in the United States. Learn more at