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What Can Cause Asthma Attacks

Can Anxiety Cause Asthma Symptoms

Mayo Clinic Minute: When asthma attacks

Complete Question

Ive noticed that as my anxiety goes up, so does my asthma and its symptoms. Is there a connection between anxiety and asthma symptoms?


Currently, the cause of asthma is unknown. Many sources suggest there is a combination of factors that cause asthma, such as environmental and genetic.

There are, however, many aggravators and triggers of asthma symptoms and attacks, including stress, such as the stress caused by anxious behavior.

While anxiety isnt known to cause asthma, the stress caused by anxiety can aggravate asthma symptoms as well as trigger an asthma attack.

Asthma is caused by a narrowing and swelling of the airways, which can also cause a production of mucus that makes it difficult to breathe. Common symptoms of asthma include difficulty breathing, as well as couching and wheezing.

Some medical sources have linked the swelling of airways to inflammation, which can be triggered by an overly sensitive and reactive immune system.

Because stress can suppress the bodys immune system, stress can be play a role in the degree and prevalence of asthma and its symptoms.

Consequently, reducing stress can remove a common aggravator and trigger of asthma.

For more information about the connection between anxiety and asthma, see the Asthma and Anxiety symptom in our Anxiety Symptoms section.

We explain the link between anxiety and asthma in more detail in our Recovery Support area.

The Link Between Asthma And Perfume

Asthma UK estimates that 2.5 million people in the UK find that fragrances such as perfumes or aerosols trigger their asthma symptoms, likely caused by particles in the air that are breathed in and irritate the airways. This makes them more inflamed and narrow, which can lead to wheezing, coughing, a tight chest, and a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

âSome people with asthma also tell us that strong smells, such as scented candles, hand cream or paint, also trigger their asthma, but the mechanisms behind this are less clear,â says Sonia Munde, head of Asthma UKâs telephone helpline service, which offers support and health advice to people with the condition.

Two Tips For Stress Reduction

Mindful Breathing

  • Start by breathing in and out slowly.
  • Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting your breath flow easily.
  • Try inhaling for 7 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds and letting your breath out for 7 seconds.
  • While focusing on your breathing, try to let go of other thoughts and just be in the moment.
  • Try doing this for three rounds.
  • Observation

  • Pick an object from nature thats around you.
  • Focus on watching it for a minute or two.
  • This could be a tree, insect or even the clouds or the moon.
  • Dont do anything except notice the thing you are looking at.
  • Look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time.
  • Just relax into this observation for as long as your focus allows.
  • Medical Review August 2018.

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    What Is An Asthma Attack

    When you breathe normally, muscles around your airways are relaxed, letting air move easily and quietly. During an asthma attack, three things can happen:

    • Bronchospasm: The muscles around the airways constrict . When they tighten, it makes your airways narrow. Air cannot flow freely through constricted airways.
    • Inflammation: The lining of your airways becomes swollen. Swollen airways dont let as much air in or out of your lungs.
    • Mucus production: During the attack, your body creates more mucus. This thick mucus clogs airways.

    When your airways get tighter, you make a sound called wheezing when you breathe, a noise your airways make when you breathe out. You might also hear an asthma attack called an exacerbation or a flare-up. Its the term for when your asthma isnt controlled.

    What You Can Do To Avoid Triggers

    Asthma Attack in Children: Causes, Early Warning Signs, and Treatment ...

    In addition to properly managing your asthma with medications, its important to know what your asthma triggers so that you can avoid them.

    • Speak with your doctor about having an allergy test done. Write down what you are allergic to and learn how to avoid or reduce your allergen exposure.
    • Use an Asthma Action Plan and an asthma diary or journal to keep track of your asthma symptoms and what triggered them. Review your findings with your healthcare provider to determine your asthma symptoms.

    Once you have a clear idea of the things that make your asthma worse, take action and make plans to control your exposure to these triggers. Some triggers will be difficult to avoid , but many of them are avoidable. Start with your own home, and its indoor asthma triggers many of us spend a lot of time at home and its environment is under your immediate control.

    Here are some tips for controlling your home environment:

    Here are some tips for avoiding triggers outside your home:

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    What Happens If An Asthma Attack Goes Untreated

    Remember, asthma attacks are caused by airway swelling and inflammation. The point of treating an acute asthma attack is to stop that process of swelling and inflammation in its tracks. Without treatment, the airways may become increasingly swollen and inflamed making it increasingly difficult to breathe. As this happens, you may even stop wheezing as there is not enough air movement to produce wheezing. This is known as a silent chest, and it is an ominous sign requiring immediate emergency care. In addition, you may develop:

    • blue fingernails or lips
    • have difficulty talking except in short phrases
    • your chest, ribs and/or collarbone may be sticking out

    All these are signs that you need medical care right away.

    Can Allergies Trigger Asthma

    Allergies and asthma are closely related conditions. An allergic reaction can trigger an asthma attack for people with asthma, causing allergy-induced asthma or allergic asthma. This makes it crucial for people with asthma to be aware of allergens and how they can spur asthma attacks.

    Here, well discuss the link between allergies and asthma and offer tips for managing both conditions.

    Read Also: How Do You Get Asthma As An Adult

    Combination Single Maintenance And Reliever Therapy

    The guidelines were published in December in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunologyand on the NHLBI website.

    The combination medication has been found to be more effective for helping you avoid unexpected trips to the emergency room or your doctors office, and can also help you avoid larger corticosteroid doses which with long-term use raise the risk of side effects such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cataracts, and glaucoma.

    What To Do If You Are Having An Asthma Attack

    Asthma – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

    If someone is having a mild asthma attack, they may be able to treat it with asthma medication, such as a quick-acting inhaler. Some mild asthma attacks may even resolve on their own.

    It is important that people with asthma talk with their healthcare team about an asthma action plan. This is a plan that guides people through how to treat their asthma, depending on the symptoms they are experiencing, and what to do in case of an asthma attack.

    A person will need to carry a reliever inhaler with them, which may contain asthma medication to relax the muscles around the airways. These medications include short-acting, rapid onset beta-2 agonist and anticholinergic bronchodilators.

    A person can first try dealing with an asthma attack by:

    • using quick-relief medications, usually through a blue inhaler, and following their asthma action plan

    In the case of a severe asthma attack, it is essential to seek medical help or call 911 immediately. While waiting for help, a person should continue to take their inhaler medication as the manufacturer outlines.

    After an asthma attack, regardless of whether medical help was necessary, the following steps are important:

    According to the American Lung Association, people will need to see their doctor at least once a year if they have asthma and more frequently if they have symptoms.

    A person should contact their doctor straight away if they:

    Anyone who experiences any of the following needs emergency medical help:

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    Asthma Patterns In Children

    Every childs asthma is different. Some children have mild, occasional episodes of asthma or only show symptoms after exercising, or when they have a cold. Some experience daily symptoms, while others have symptoms continuously, which limit their level of activity.

    Each pattern of asthma requires a different treatment approach. It is important to remember that children can still have a severe and even life-threatening attack, even if they generally have mild or occasional asthma.

    All Kinds Of Physical Activity

    So, what kinds of physical activity are âsafe?â None. Any kind of physical activity can âpotentially cause exercise-induced asthma,â according to ABC News Health. Certain activities are more likely to put you at risk of an attack. These include cross-country running, soccer or lacrosse, skiing or football.

    Anyone who has been diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma is more likely to develop an asthma attack during any kind of physical activity. To protect yourself from the consequences of an attack, keep your rescue inhaler nearby any time you participate in any kind of physical activity.

    Read Also: What Are The Signs Symptoms And Triggers Of Asthma

    Whats The Best Body Position For An Asthma Attack

    Generally speaking, sitting up straight is the best position for an asthma attack. This is because sitting up allows air to more effectively enter your lungs while bending over or lying down may constrict your breathing.

    A 2017 study investigated lung function in a small group of 20 people with asthma. Lung function was found to be highest when participants were in the standing position, followed by the sitting position. Function was lowest when participants were lying down.

    Another investigated the effect of body positioning on the lung function of healthy people and those with certain health conditions. In people with lung diseases like asthma, lung function was found to be higher in more erect positions.

    Also Check: How To Control Your Asthma Naturally

    Why Do Animals And Pets Trigger Asthma Symptoms

    6 Triggers That Increase Chances Of An Asthma Attack

    People often think their asthma is triggered by animal hair, but if pets are a trigger for you, youre probably allergic to proteins found in the animals flakes of skin , saliva, urine or even fine particles from bird feathers known as feather dust.

    Touching or inhaling these allergens causes your immune system to overreact, leading to your asthma symptoms getting worse.

    Lots of pets can trigger allergic asthma symptoms, from cats, dogs and horses, to rabbits, hamsters, mice and gerbils, and birds. You might be allergic to just one type of animal or more than one.

    Animal allergies can develop at any stage of life. Even if you had a pet when you were younger and didnt react to it, you could be allergic to the same type of animal now.

    Read Also: Is Asthma A Serious Medical Condition

    Can A Child Have An Asthma Attack While Sleeping

    Asthma symptoms at night are extremely common. In fact, many people with asthma experience nighttime symptoms at least once a week and some every night. This is commonly referred to as nocturnal asthma. It shouldnt be surprising when you think about asthma triggers, however. Remember indoor allergens are a common trigger for an asthma attack, so sleep is primetime for exposure to these allergens. For children with asthma, it is essential to reduce their exposure to environmental triggers and teach them how to recognize asthma symptoms.

    Anxiety Caused By Anxiety

    Anxiety is also self-sustaining. Earlier we mentioned panic attacks, and how they can often be caused by periods of stress that become overwhelming. But once youve had your first panic attack, you may get them again and again because of a fear of panic attacks, or because your body becomes more attuned to how it feels, which ultimately triggers them in the future.

    We see this in other ways too:

    • If you found yourself nervous about a plane ride, you might be fearful on future plane rides.
    • If you find yourself worried about a negative thought, you may have that thought more often.
    • If you experienced severe anxiety symptoms, you may be anxious about experiencing them again.

    Essentially, anxiety and a fear of anxiety symptoms can create more anxiety in the future. They become their own self-sustaining cycle. So even justifiable anxiety can lead to unprompted anxiety.

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    Alternative Pet Ideas For Children With Asthma

    If your children love animals but cant keep a household pet, here are some other ways they could feel connected to an animal:

    • Sponsor an animal through a zoo, safari park or charity scheme.
    • Get your child a substitute pet such as an interactive toy like a Furby or Little Live Pet, or an animal app. Virtual pets let children feel like theyre caring for an animal without the risk of triggering asthma symptoms.

    Asthma Attack No Inhaler What To Do

    Early Warning Signs of an Asthma Attack

    For many people who suffer from asthma, an asthma attack no inhaler situation can be an instant reason to panic. Although the asthma inhalers side effects can be uncomfortable or even dangerous, many people rely on these medications to help them breathe when an asthma attack occurs. Without an inhaler you should know which steps you can take to stop the attack and get your breathing under control. In some cases understanding these tips could save your life if you end up in this situation.

    For an asthma attack no inhaler there are a number of things that may help. Breathing exercises for asthma may be learned which limit the inflammation that occurs by minimizing irritation to the airways. Breathing out slowly through your mouth will help calm and relax you some, so that anxiety does not make the problem worse or cause any further constrictions. Continue breathing in this way until the attack starts to subside.

    Another possible way to deal with an asthma attack no inhaler situation is to use either an over the counter asthma attack treatment or some strong coffee, if either is available. OTC remedies for asthma contain either ephedrine or adrenaline, and may work in some cases. These drugs are strong though, and can be dangerous. Drinking strong coffee may also help, because the caffeine has a stimulant effect that helps open the airways and relieve difficult breathing.

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    What Are The Triggers

    There are many different triggers for asthma attacks. Many asthmatics are well aware of their trigger points. However, they may not always be able to avoid them.

    Pollen and pollution are increasingly responsible for triggering asthma. Many people find a worsening of their symptoms in Spring, combined with the onset of hay fever. There are many species of grasses, trees and weeds in the UK. Some people are particularly sensitive to some and do not react at all to others. There is also huge variation around the country as to when pollen is released. People can begin to suffer from hay fever as early as January. About 20% of people with hay fever are allergic to birch tree pollen and this, as well as oak and plane trees, are responsible for many unpleasant symptoms and can exacerbate asthma.

    Grass pollens are the most common cause of hay fever and usually affect people in May, June and July.

    Weed pollens usually release pollen from early spring to early autumn.

    If you know pollen is a trigger for your asthma, speak to your GP or asthma nurse.

    The Met Office issues really useful pollen advice.

    • Shortness of breath
    • Tightness in the chest
    • Often people find it particularly difficult to breathe out and have an increase in sticky mucus and phlegm

    Its important to note that not everyone will get all of these symptoms.

    Keep A Diary Of Your Childs Symptoms

    Keep a diary of symptoms to discuss with your doctor. The diary could include:

    • a video or audio recording of the wheezing you could use your mobile phone
    • when the symptoms occur such as during the day or worse at night
    • how bad the symptoms are and how often they happen
    • how long the symptoms remain and whether they change with time
    • whether the symptoms are worse after exercise, playing or after an infection
    • whether the symptoms are worse after exposure to animals, pollens or mould.

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    Spacers And Asthma Medication

    For all people with asthma, it is recommended that a spacer device is used when asthma medication is delivered via a puffer . A spacer is a specially designed container that attaches to a puffer and has its own mouthpiece to breathe through.

    Using a spacer helps the medication to go where it is supposed to into the small airways in the lungs rather than ending up coating your childs mouth, tongue and throat. It is much more effective than using a puffer on its own. Using a spacer with a puffer can reduce or prevent side effects from inhaled medication.

    Babies and young children may need a spacer with a special face mask attached to inhale asthma medicines effectively. These fit tightly around your childs mouth and nose to make sure none of the medicine leaks out. Talk to your pharmacist for advice and to have your technique checked.

    Watch this Asthma Australia video which shows you how to use a spacer with a face mask.

    The Ever Increasing Burden Of Copd In India And How Can Digital Health Technologies Helpyour Browser Indicates If Youve Visited This Link

    5 Causes of Asthma

    India is among countries with lowest quit rates for smoking. The quit rates for men are less than 20%. Additionally, the study indicates 37% Indian respondents showed desire to change behavior with plan to quit smoking A child born before the completion of 37 weeks in pregnancy or three weeks before the due date is known to a preterm or premature baby who requires special care due to the organs being underdeveloped.

    India Times

    Some scientists believe that asthma and vitamin deficiency are integrally linked. Researchers have looked into the role that certain vitaminslike vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin Eplay in the occurrence and severity of the disease. While it is clear that diet does influence the incidence and prevalence of asthma, what is less clear is whether vitamin supplementation can prevent asthma or improve its symptoms.

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