The Relationship Between Stress and Asthma


Stress and Asthma

Stress and AsthmaAsthma triggers are found in a multitude of everyday sources.  Dust, dander, mold, pollen and smoke can initiate an attack.  They seem to be everywhere and unavoidable.  If you have exercise-induced asthma, even something as universally beneficial as exercise can set an attack in motion.  Gaining control of your symptoms can present as a losing battle and one that only leads to frustration, anger, worry and sadness.

Though asthma is a physical health concern, be sure to give attention to your mental health.  Feelings of frustration, anger, worry and sadness are perfectly normal and expected during periods of high symptoms.  The problem begins when short-term, normal feelings transition into long-term, exaggerated feelings and mental illness.  If left to fester, the unwanted feelings become anxiety and depression.  The key that bridges the gap from normal to abnormal is stress.

Stress, like other triggers of asthma, is everywhere.  It is unavoidable and inescapable.  You cannot stop it.  Your only hope is to contain it.  Because of this, you cannot only focus your efforts on managing your asthma.  You must manage stress.  The best treatment stems from a holistic approach where your physical health and mental health are valued equally.  If you attend to only one, the other will suffer, and you will be resigned to a life of unmanaged asthma and undesirable mental health.

Asthma Versus Anxiety

You already know that stress and asthma feed into each other.  A major way this happens is through the similarity of symptoms.  Your body and mind confuse anxiety and asthma to the point that they seem the same.  Similar symptoms of anxiety and asthma include:

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  • Tightness in chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Hyperventilation
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating

Because so many physical symptoms overlap, the association becomes stronger.  You are no longer able to tell the difference between anxiety and asthma while both worsen.

Next page: breaking the anxiety-asthma cycle.

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