Asthma and Stress Correlation


Asthma is frequently triggered by stress. Anything that causes asthma symptoms is considered an asthma trigger. When you have stress and asthma, you may experience shortness of breath, anxiety, and even panic. Stress can aggravate your asthma symptoms and make you feel scared.

When stress levels rise, whether it’s due to bills, work, or your children’s packed schedule, asthma symptoms can flare up. As the wheezing and coughing worsen, your health becomes a source of concern. Asthma and stress form a vicious circle that can quickly spiral downward.

What exactly is stress?

In the scientific literature, stress has been defined in a variety of ways. One of the most common psychological definitions is that stress occurs when environmental demands test an individual’s adaptive capacity, or ability to cope. These demands, commonly referred to as “stressors,” include negative life events such as job loss, the death of a loved one, and family conflict. 

Stress has been linked to changes in various immune parameters in humans, according to researchers. The direction of the change is determined by the type of stressor and whether the person is healthy or suffering from an illness such as asthma.

So,what is asthma?

During an asthma attack, the muscles that surround your airways contract, narrowing them. The lining swells, and the cells produce more mucus, which clogs your airways. It is a chronic disease that can affect anyone at any time.However,it is reversible if we are able to control the triggering factors.

Why is stress a trigger for asthma?

Stress increases your likelihood of reacting to asthma triggers, such as pets, pollen, and colds. It can also induce symptoms indirectly. Under stress, you may become angrier more frequently, and anger is an emotional asthma trigger. Some of us respond to stress by drinking or smoking more, both of which increase our susceptibility to asthma symptoms.

And if your stress levels remain elevated for an extended period of time, you may experience more frequent and severe asthma attacks. Sometimes, excessive stress can result in anxiety or panic attacks. The release of stress hormones during a panic attack prepares us to either flee from danger or fight it (the “fight or flight” response).

We respond with symptoms such as a faster heart rate, tense muscles, and shallow, rapid breathing (hyperventilating).This alteration to our breathing pattern can increase our likelihood of experiencing asthma symptoms such as chest tightness and coughing.

How can I determine if stress is causing my asthma symptoms?

The first step is recognising that you are experiencing stress; sometimes we miss the signs. Stress can cause increased irritability, fatigue, and anxiety. You may feel emotional, restless, and unable to make decisions.

The second is realizing that stress can aggravate asthma – sometimes we fail to make the connection between stressful events and asthma symptoms.Try keeping a diary to determine if stress is the cause of your asthma symptoms; record when and why you’re stressed along with your asthma symptoms.

You may begin to recognise patterns. For instance, you may have experienced more asthma symptoms when relocating to a new residence or when you had upcoming exams.A written asthma action plan helps you monitor worsening symptoms and reminds you of what to do if you observe any.

When is stress most likely to cause asthma attacks?

Everyone is susceptible to stress at any time. However, there are times in life when we are more likely to react to stressful situations. For instance,

  • During certain phases of their menstrual cycle or menopause, a woman may experience increased stress and anxiety.
  • Teenagers and young adults may also be dealing with hormones, peer pressure, exams, and family issues. All of these factors can increase their stress levels at an age when they are less likely to manage stress effectively.
  • Children with asthma who are exposed to stressful events are more likely to experience an asthma attack, especially if they have a strong family history of asthma.

It ain’t easy bein’ wheezy!

Stress can exacerbate asthmatic symptoms. By effectively managing stress, patients can reduce their likelihood of experiencing an asthma attack or episode triggered by stress. According to scientific research, mindful breathing and observation can reduce stress and improve overall health.

Mindful breathing and observation can assist patients in managing stress.

Two Stress-Reduction Strategies

  1. a) Mindful breathing

You can practise mindful breathing independently at any time and in any location. However, listening to basic guided meditations can also be beneficial, especially for beginners. An experienced teacher’s instructions can help remind us to return to the present, let go of distracting thoughts, and be less critical of ourselves.

  1. b) Observe your thoughts carefully

The mind is resistant to altering core beliefs. Take note of its resistance. You do not have to accept or act on what your mind tells you all day. Become a keen observer of the verbal tapes that your mind produces. The conditioned mind is responsible for the running of old tapes (conditioned beliefs). When the tapes are particularly self-critical, this function is referred to as the “inner critic” or “bully.” It is a powerful opponent of making changes in your life.

Hey stress, please go away.

It is impossible to avoid all the stress in our lives.Besides following those two strategies, you can also go for routine follow-ups and do a health screening.

So, what should you do if you have frequent asthma attacks?

1.Maintain your asthma routine.

If your asthma is not well managed in the first place, stress is more likely to trigger symptoms. So, make sure you’re taking your asthma medications as directed, using your inhaler correctly, getting regular asthma reviews, and following a written asthma action plan.

2.Consult your doctor or an asthma nurse. 

They can help you manage your asthma even when you are under a lot of stress. For example, they may advise you to take more of your asthma medication for a while to keep your asthma under control during stressful times. They can also refer you to counseling and other services.

3.Use your inhaler correctly

A good inhaler technique, whether for a preventer or reliever inhaler, allows you to breathe the medicine directly into your lungs, where it is needed.Poor asthma control is linked to incorrect inhaler technique.

Finally, there is undoubtedly a correlation between asthma and stress. Stress can aggravate your asthma symptoms and trigger your body’s flight or fight response. Get the chewable vitamin tablets