Asthma and Stress

Asthma is characterized by a narrowing and swelling of the airways, and is often accompanied by the production of mucus. As a result, breathing becomes more difficult. Coughing and wheezing often accompany this difficulty.
There are numerous triggers for asthma attacks. According to statistics published in Asthma UK, 43% of people with asthma have reported that stress is a major trigger for their attacks. In fact, even people whose asthma attack was not triggered by stress note that additional stress increases the severity of their symptoms.
Whether due to family, work, finances, problems in school, or any of the various routines of daily life, stress is unavoidable. Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between periods of stress and anxiety and increased inflammatory symptoms.
To make matters worse, an anxiety-induced asthma attack — an attack which leaves an individual with a sensation of suffocating — is itself anxiety-provoking. This can create an unhealthy synergistic cycle which can ultimately lead to an emergency room visit. In general, asthma can be a life-threatening disease, and when the attack is severe — and exacerbated by anxiety — the risk of death is greatly increased.
There are various steps we can take to control stress in our environment, and thereby control this important asthma trigger.
1. When a person is in an environment which they find stressful, they should find a way to leave that environment as quickly as possible.
2. Relaxation techniques are effective in reducing anxiety and stress. Techniques include exercise, meditation, and tai chi, among others.
3. It has been established that making changes to our lifestyles can reduce our stress and anxiety levels. A healthy diet and a sufficient amount of sleep are essential to our health in general, and to our psychological health in particular.
Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center, in the scenic beach town of Keansburg, NJ, specializes in pulmonary care, including asthma management. Headed by leading pulmonary specialist Dr. Avtar Parhar, our program is the most highly advanced pulmonary rehabilitation program in Monmouth County. At Laurel Bay, we focus on restorative and preventive care for those who suffer with chronic respiratory disease.
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