Allergic Asthma And Depression And Anxiety
According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America , strong emotions and stress can affect asthma. The AAFA notes that depression and anxiety are associated with less control of your asthma symptoms.
A review from 2018 also indicated that those with an allergic disorder were more likely to experience depression.
Other research echoes this.
A 2008 studyTrusted Source details the links between asthma and mood disorders, including major depression and anxiety disorders. The researchers point out that comprehensive treatment that considers both asthma and mood disorders is important.
The study also notes that asthma and mood disorders share common pathophysiologies. This means that asthma shares some physical processes with these disorders.
The symptoms of anxiety and stress often mimic those of asthma as well.
What To Do If Youre Not Sure Whats Causing Your Symptoms
If youre not sure whether your asthma symptoms are getting worse or youve got symptoms of anxiety, its very important to talk to your GP or asthma nurse.
- If you mistake your anxiety symptoms for asthma, it could mean that you take more asthma medicine than you need. Some people find that they have palpitations, trembling hands, tingling fingers or lips, or feel a bit nervy and on edge after repeated doses of their reliever inhaler. Symptoms like these could make you feel more anxious.
- If you mistake your asthma symptoms for anxiety, you may not be treating your asthma symptoms correctly and this could lead to a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
Next review due June 2022
When Asthma Treatment Triggers More Anxiety
With persistent asthma, you have symptoms more than twice a week. Treating persistent asthma requires long-term maintenance therapy, such as an inhaled steroid, plus rescue therapy when something triggers symptoms. And when your symptoms are out of control , prednisone for asthma might be necessary for a few days. The problem is that prednisone often causes mood swings as a side effect, adding fuel to your anxiety.
Remember, prednisone is a short-term treatment for most people with asthma. After you finish taking the “burst” of oral steroids, your mood will return to normal. Inhaled steroids don’t cause permanent mood changes.
If your long-term asthma medication doesn’t work well, and wheezing and chest tightness occur too often, a vicious circle can begin where anxiety worsens asthma, and asthma worsens anxiety. That’s when you need to talk to your doctor about your symptoms, triggers, and stress. Also discuss other asthma treatment options that can get asthma under control again, so you can prevent symptoms of asthma.
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How Can It Help Anxiety
We experience shortness of breath during an anxiety attack because our anxiousness has changed our breathing patterns . This is because we arent normally aware of our breathing unless we bring our attention to it.
During anxious times, our breathing can become restricted and shallow. These short, choppy breaths can lead to hyperventilation.
Hyperventilation is when the carbon dioxide levels in the blood decrease because of over-breathing . When this happens too quickly, we can experience chest pain, dry mouth, numbness, and tingling. It may also lead to confusion, dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.
This is why you see people breathing into paper bags. It might look ridiculous, but the bag is actually capturing the carbon dioxide and holding it for you to breathe back in. This can increase the levels of carbon dioxide in the blood and help you regain control of your lungs.
When someone hyperventilates, their heart rate increases, as well as their anxiety as they start to panic, their panic can lead to further chest pain and shortness of breath, creating an evil loop of anxiety and breathlessness. An inhaler can allow someone to regain control of their breathing.
A rescue inhaler is probably the best option for having a panic attack because it allows quicker control over-breathing.
What Is An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack occurs when your normal asthma symptoms suddenly get worse. The muscles around your airways get tighter known as a bronchospasm the lining in your airways becomes swollen and inflamed and you produce thicker mucus than normal.
Together the bronchospasm, inflammation and mucus production create the symptoms of an asthma attack. Find out below what to do if you or a loved one suffers an asthma attack .
If your asthma is under control through the use of prescribed preventer and reliever inhalers or other asthma medication, you may go a while without having an asthma attack. But sometimes exposure to common asthma triggers, such as cold air, smoke or even exercise, can trigger an asthma attack.
Asthma attacks can be mild or severe. Its more common to experience mild asthma attacks, which may only last minutes. However, severe asthma attacks can last from hours to days and can be a medical emergency.
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Asthma Symptoms Attacks And Anxiety
Common asthma anxiety symptoms descriptions include:
- You notice your asthma symptoms or attacks get worse and more persistent in association with your anxiety.
- You might also notice your overall asthma symptoms have increased, that you are experiencing more asthma attacks, or your asthma condition is more problematic overall than normal when your anxiety is more problematic.
- You have noticed a connection between your anxiety or stress and an increase in asthma symptoms or attacks.
Asthma symptoms include:
- Chest tightness
- Rapid breathing
Many find their asthma symptoms increase more in the early morning or at night. Asthma attacks, however, can occur at any time and can be triggered by a number of factors.
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.
Some medical sources have linked the swelling of airways to inflammation, which can be triggered by an overly sensitive/reactive immune system. Because stress can suppress the bodys immune system, stress can play a role in the degree and prevalence of asthma.
During periods of stress and anxiety, asthma attacks occur more frequently, and asthma control is more difficult. Peter Gergen, MP, MPH, a senior medical officer at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
How Does It Work
You have a receptor in your throat that constantly monitors CO2 levels. When these are elevated for some reason perhaps because you are in a place with high CO2 levels like elevators or because stress is causing you to breathe badly then this can trigger a panic response.
bcalm immediately lowers the CO2 level in your throat, meaning that your brain is sent a new message: its okay again, lets relax.
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How Does Stress Affect Asthma
depicts our working model of stress and asthma. It highlights the importance of both social and physical exposures in the exacerbation of symptoms. The basic premise of the model is that psychological stress operates by altering the magnitude of the airway inflammatory response that irritants, allergens, and infections bring about in persons with asthma. It is important to note that the model suggests that stress on its own is NOT capable of modifying immune functions in a way that leads to asthmatic symptoms. Rather, stress is viewed as a process that accentuates the airway inflammatory response to environmental triggers and, in doing so, increases the frequency, duration, and severity of patients’ symptoms.
Model depicting the interaction of psychological stress with environmental triggers in influencing asthma exacerbations. The basic premise of the model is that stress operates by altering the magnitude of the airway inflammatory response that irritants, allergens, and infections bring about in persons with asthma. The figure provides an overview of the relevant biological pathways to airway inflammation and bronchoconstriction, including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, the sympathetic-adrenal-medullary axis, and the sympathetic and parasympathetic arms of the autonomic nervous system.
What To Do If You Think Youre Having An Asthma Attack
If you suspect youre having an attack, follow these steps:
Its safe to use an albuterol rescue inhaler even if the expiration date has passed. However, the medication inside may not be as effective, so you may need to use more of it to find relief. Dont use an inhaler thats been damaged or stored in direct sunlight.
If you dont have a rescue inhaler, call 911 immediately. In the meantime, try to remain calm and move away from nearby respiratory irritants, like cigarette smoke, pets, or outdoor pollen.
Even if you manage to get an asthma attack under control on your own, you should still visit your family doctor within the next few days. Your doctor can determine if you require additional medications, clinical testing, or if theres an underlying condition that led to the attack.
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Illnesses And Health Conditions As Asthma Triggers
Catching a cold or influenza is rather unpleasant even when you dont have an underlying chronic health condition. But for asthmatics, these usual health problems can become a source of real trouble. As these infections affect the respiratory tract, causing inflammation processes and production of excess mucus, they can easily trigger an asthma attack and a serious one at that!
What Is Normal Breathing
When most of us breathe, the muscles that are wrapped around the air tubes are very loose and relaxed, and the lining inside the airways is very thin. This lets the airways open up very wide so that it is easy to get air in and out of the small air sacs that make up our lungs. These small sacs are called alveoli . When air moves in and out of our lungs, we call it breathing.
The picture below shows what your lungs look like when everything is working normally. The muscles wrapped around the airways are very thin and loose, and the airway is wide open. This makes it easy to move air in and out of the air sacs.
The animation below shows normal breathing. As we breathe in, air that contains lots of oxygen is pulled into the lungs. This oxygen slowly moves from the lungs into the blood. Then air that contains carbon dioxide is pushed back out through the lungs as we breathe out. When things are working normally, the amount of air we breathe in is about the same as the amount of air we breathe out.
What lungs look like during normal breathing
When you are breathing normally, it takes about the same amount of time to breathe in as it does to breathe out .
During an asthma attack, it is harder and takes much longer to breathe out than to breathe in . Since it is so hard to breathe out during an asthma attack, more and more air gets trapped inside the lungs making it feel like you cant breathe in or out!
Managing Emotions And Allergic Asthma Symptoms
Managing your emotions and emotional responses may help you better manage your asthma.
Since day-to-day stress and emotions can impact your symptoms, experts suggest using different coping methods and relaxation techniques to handle stress, emotions, and strong emotional responses.
Researchers increasingly suggest practicing mindfulness to help reduce stress and manage asthma symptoms.
A 2020 study noted that when people with asthma or COPD apply mindfulness techniques, the psychological response may have a positive impact on symptoms.
The AAFA recommends trying mindful breathing and observation to help reduce stress.
If you want to try mindful breathing:
If you want to try mindfulness through observation:
India Contributes To 111 Per Cent Of The Global Asthma Burden
- Quick-relief medicine
- Inhaled corticosteroids
- Proton pump inhibitors for acid reflux
- Nasal allergy sprays
Use inhalers: Understand the triggers: Keep a record: Keep the right inhaler ready:
- Keep your asthma under control by following your asthma action plan
- Continue your current medications, including any inhalers with steroids in them
- Dont stop any medications or change your asthma treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider
- Discuss any concerns about your treatment with your healthcare provider
- Talk to your healthcare provider, insurer, and pharmacist about creating an emergency supply of prescription medications, such as asthma inhalers. Make sure that you have 30 days of non-prescription medications and supplies on hand too in case you need to stay home for a long time
- Avoid your asthma triggers
- As more cases of viral infection are discovered, it is natural for some people to feel concerned or stressed. Strong emotions can trigger an asthma attack. Take steps to help yourself cope with stress and anxiety
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick
- Clean your hands often by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- Avoid crowds and people who are sick
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How To Prevent Future Asthma Attacks
Asthma attacks can be scary in the moment, but finding a treatment plan that works right for you can help manage your symptoms and prevent future emergencies.
- First, talk to your doctor. Your family doctor can help you monitor your asthma, find ways to manage symptoms day-to-day and check for underlying conditions that may make asthma worse.
- Know what triggers your symptoms. You can help prevent asthma attacks by avoiding respiratory irritants, allergens, and other triggers. Attacks can be set off by anythingfrom seasonal allergies to physical exercise to stressful emotions. Talk to your doctor if youre not sure what causes your symptoms or youre not sure how to avoid triggers.
- Always keep your rescue inhaler on hand. Dont leave home without your rescue inhaler even for short periods of time. Keep your medication up to date and stored in a dry place away from direct heat or cold. Dont store your inhaler in your car.
- Make an action plan with your family. If youre having an emergency, its important that those around you know what to do to help. Your loved ones should know where you keep your rescue inhaler, as well as who to call if youre experiencing an attack.
Can I Use An Inhaler For Anxiety
While it may not be a primary method for dealing with anxiety, using a rescue inhaler is an option for dealing with an anxiety attack. Talk with your doctor before doing so.
What is Aluna?
Aluna is an innovative, scientifically-accurate, and portable spirometer cleared by the FDA.
This device and management program is designed to help adults and children, 5 years and up, monitor their lung function and take control of their respiratory health.
Aluna automatically tracks your FEV1% over time. You can also monitor your symptoms, medication, exercise, and environmental factors.
With the Aluna app, you can easily
Aluna is seeking to shed light on asthma and other lung diseases by providing accurate and reliable data for healthcare providers and patients.
Be sure to ask your healthcare professional about Aluna and how this device can benefit you.
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Try Relaxation Or Breathing Techniques
Mind-body practices like meditation, yoga, and tai chi can promote relaxation, but theres not enough research currently to show definitively that they help relieve asthma symptoms. However, a review of studies published in September 2012 in the journal AHRQ Comparative Effectiveness Reviews suggests that hyperventilation-reduction breathing techniques and yoga breathing techniques may possibly help improve asthma symptoms or at least reduce the need for quick-relief medications.
When To Talk With A Doctor
If your symptoms are otherwise well controlled, you may not need to speak with your doctor. But if your symptoms are starting to increase in intensity, you may want to talk with your doctor about changing your treatment routine.
If you experience symptoms of depression, you should talk with your doctor or another mental health professional.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, signs and symptoms of depression can include:
- loss of appetite
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Can Stress Cause An Asthma Attack
Asthma attacks can be triggered by stress, but many asthma triggers are environmental, such as pollen, dust, pets, and tobacco smoke. Stress alone doesnt cause asthma attacks. But stress may be a factor in some people. Stress can trigger asthma symptoms in a number of ways. It may cause:.
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Life With Asthma & Anxiety
An underlying health issue, such as asthma, can trigger anxiety and vice versa. In fact, many people with asthma will experience panic attacks during an episode, as an exacerbation feels suffocating. For some, even the thought of future asthma attacks is enough to cause anxiety. The common factor of both conditions? Stress. When you experience stress, the body releases hormones that launch adrenalinepicking up your heart rate and triggering shallow, gasping breaths. When those with asthma experience anxiety-induced stress, changes in normal breathing patterns become a concern and often lead to asthma attacks. The solution for managing both conditions comes down to learning how to manage your stress.
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