Out of Breath: Stress as an Asthma Trigger

Dust mites, pests, cigarette smoke — these are all asthma triggers everyone knows. What some people don’t know is that stress can also contribute to prompting asthma attacks. This is why it’s important for patients to learn about this trigger, so you can manage stress better and thus prevent episodes.

The Asthma Trigger

When a person experiences stress, hormones are released into the body to set the fight or flight mode. Fight or flight mode is the body’s reaction towards a perceived harmful event, preparing you to either face a threat (fight) or run away from danger (flight). As this happens, your heart rate increases, muscles tighten, and breathing becomes faster.

This change in the body, particularly in breathing, makes you more prone to asthma symptoms, such as coughing and chest tightening. In such instances, it’s then important to always have your inhaler ready. A ProAir assistance program could help if you’re looking for discounts on your medications.

The way people commonly respond when tensed is also one reason stress triggers asthma. For instance, you’re more likely to lose your temper when stressed. As you know, anger in itself is an emotional asthma trigger.

In addition, you’re more inclined to smoke or drink, which of course, can prompt symptoms of the condition. There’s also the fact that patients are reluctant when taking their asthma medicines when under stress.

Importance of Stress Management

Stress is a part of daily life. You can’t just simply avoid it, but understanding how it could trigger your asthma is half the battle. It’s the first step towards managing it. Identify specific stress triggers. Observing yourself and listing triggers in a journal may help.

From there, take proactive steps in managing such triggers. For instance, if it’s the piles and piles of work that’s causing you stress, see if it’s possible to delegate some tasks or take a break every now and then.

Exercise can also help, as it relieves stress and prompts the release of “happy hormones” like dopamine and estrogen. Consult your doctor, though, on safe physical activities you can do.

Stress may trigger asthma symptoms. Practice the mentioned stress management tips to prevent asthma attacks.