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Living with asthma

Living with asthma involves knowing what sets off symptoms, and finding ways of avoiding these triggers.

Work with your asthma care team on an asthma care plan, and make sure this is reviewed regularly to take account of any changes in the condition or different circumstances.

Stress and asthma

Although stress does not cause asthma, stress and asthma are definitely linked. Asthma causes stress and stress makes it more difficult to control asthma. Even daily stress can make your asthma symptoms worse. Learning to change your stress response to reduce your asthma symptoms is important. Equally important is prioritising your daily routine so that you allow enough time to achieve what you need to do without feeling under pressure or overwhelmed.

The longer breathing problems go uncontrolled, the more likely you will notice the signs caused by stress. This can make it more difficult to breathe and create further problems including:

  • Difficulty sleeping or nocturnal asthma, leading to constant fatigue
  • Inability to exercise or exercise-induced asthma, leading to poor aerobic and physical fitness
  • Difficulty concentrating, leading to poor performance
  • Increased irritability from lack of sleep or asthma medicine side effects
  • Withdrawal from favourite activities because of lack of energy
  • Changes in appetite because of medications
  • Depression.

There is a better way to live with asthma and prevent asthma symptoms. Learn all about stress and your stress response. Set goals to manage your stress in a way that is healthy and not detrimental to your breathing.

When stress creeps up on you, you will notice an increase in anxiety and asthma symptoms. As the symptoms of asthma such as wheezing and coughing get worse, you become more anxious and then your asthma symptoms get worse. Asthma and anxiety make for a vicious cycle and one that can spiral downwards quickly. Learn about the connection between anxiety and asthma, and talk to your doctor or a counsellor about how you can reduce your anxiety and so better control your asthma.

Finding support with asthma

If you have asthma, it is important to get some support. The people around you, family members, friends, people at work, can all give you support with asthma. These people should not only know what to do in case you have an asthma attack, but they should also know that asthma can be controlled and managed. You can also find support online, through local support groups and by staying in touch with others who have asthma. Finding support can help reduce some of the stress you might feel.

Asthma and smoking

Asthma and smoking do not go well together. If you have asthma and smoke, talk to your doctor or use NHS stop smoking services. Not only does smoking increase your asthma symptoms, coughing, increased mucus and wheezing, but it also increases the risk of lung cancer, throat cancer, emphysema (another lung disease), heart disease, hypertension, ulcers, gum disease and more. If you stop smoking, you are likely to prolong your life and you may need less medication to keep your asthma well-controlled.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on February 09, 2018

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