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The Connection Between Asthma and Other Health Conditions

The Connection Between Asthma and Other Health Conditions

Asthma is a disease that causes inflammation of your lungs and airways, causing difficulty in breathing. This results in asthma attacks. Even though there is no cure for asthma, you can control the symptoms and prevent future asthma complications. Not every individual with asthma will develop other health conditions or complications, but it is important to take proper precautions and manage the symptoms. Asthma and other health conditions are connected in a number of ways and can become life-threatening if left untreated.

If you experience asthma symptoms even for a short period or even if the symptoms are mild, it must be taken seriously. Early diagnosis and timely treatment are necessary to manage the symptoms of asthma. It is also helpful to prevent other health conditions that can worsen due to asthma. Asthma also increases your risk of developing other health conditions such as:

Here’s how asthma and other health conditions are connected.

Asthma and other health conditions: Heart Disease

Asthma increases your risk of developing a heart attack, stroke, or any other heart-related ailments. There are many theories that suggest links between heart disease and asthma. The most common theory is that asthma, when left untreated or uncontrolled, can put excess pressure on the heart to get oxygen from the lungs. The excess pressure on the heart can cause heart diseases. Also, asthma can cause anxiety, which if it persists for a longer period, can cause heart diseases.

Asthma and other health conditions: Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in which your bones become fragile and causes severe pain. People with asthma are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis because of medications called corticosteroids that are prescribed for asthma. These medications can lower the amount of calcium that is absorbed from food and can contribute to bone loss, resulting in the thinning of bones. The medications also cause loss of excess calcium from the kidneys, contributing to bone loss, which weakens bones and muscles.

Avoiding osteoporosis

You must increase your calcium intake with the help of milk, milk products, leafy vegetables, etc. You must also increase your vitamin D intake. Quit smoking as it is harmful to both bones and lungs. You can exercise to strengthen your bones. Simple exercises that you can include in your workout routine are walking, jogging, spot jogging, etc.

Asthma and other health condition: Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea is a breathing disorder in which your breathing stops for a brief period during sleep. People with asthma are more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can also cause heart-related complications. It is important for you to manage your symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea with the help of medications and a healthy lifestyle. Your doctor may ask you to avoid certain medications like sleeping pills. Your doctor may even prescribe you allergy medications to relieve the symptoms. You must monitor your weight, avoid consumption of alcohol, and boost your immune system.

Asthma and other health conditions: Anxiety

Asthma and anxiety are interconnected. The symptoms of one can worsen the symptoms of the other, and vice-versa. Even minor stress can make it difficult to breathe. Some of the common symptoms of asthma and anxiety are:

  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritability
  • Inability to perform even regular tasks
  • Lack of energy
  • Weakness
  • Lack of focus

The common factor that worsens both conditions is excess stress. It is because when you are stressed, your body produces stress hormones. Your body reacts to the hormones with an increased heart rate and fast breathing. These can trigger asthma symptoms. This connection between asthma and other health conditions like anxiety can be considered very serious.

Stress relief

If you are constantly under stress, talk to your doctor about ways to manage stress. Simple ways to manage stress include eating healthy food, staying organised, avoiding smoking and consuming alcohol, and exercising regularly. You can reduce your stress levels with the help of breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and getting adequate sleep.

Since there are a lot of similarities between asthma and anxiety, there are chances of you experiencing panic attacks and asthma attacks at the same time, making it difficult for you to differentiate between the two conditions. If you are getting asthma attacks and panic attacks more often, it is important to seek medical help and get the right treatment.

Asthma and other health conditions: Manage your symptoms

Triggers

It is important to know your asthma triggers. Once you discover your triggers, make sure to avoid exposure to them. Common asthma triggers include:

  • Dust
  • Smoke
  • Animal fur
  • Pollen

Not just at home, but even at your workplace, make sure that the things that trigger your symptoms are kept away.

Other asthma triggers include emotions. You will be surprised to know your emotions such as anger, sadness, crying, laughing, etc. can trigger asthma symptoms. These emotions might cause the narrowing of airways, resulting in difficulty in breathing.

Vaccinations

Talk to your doctor about the annual vaccinations you need to take. In most cases, your asthma symptoms are triggered because of infections. Taking regular vaccinations can help to prevent the infections.

Medications

There are certain medications that can trigger your symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you observe that after taking certain medications you experience any respiratory issues.

The symptoms of asthma may change over time. It is important to closely monitor your symptoms and discuss with your doctor about your current symptoms. Your doctor might change your treatment plan accordingly. If you notice your symptoms are well controlled, your doctor may probably reduce the dosage of medications.

Key takeaway

Asthma is connected to other health conditions such as anxiety, heart disease, osteoporosis, and obstructive sleep apnea.

If you or your family member has been diagnosed with asthma, consult your doctor and learn how to manage the symptoms. The symptoms of asthma are different for different people. Take medications as prescribed by your doctor and follow a healthy lifestyle that will help to prevent asthma and other health conditions.

Learn more about Asthma here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Asthma and other health conditions/https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/manage-your-asthma/other-conditions//Accessed on 10/05/2020

Complications of asthma/https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/complications-of-asthma/Accessed on 10/05/2020

Asthma/https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asthma/Accessed on 10/05/2020

Overview: Asthma https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/ Accessed on 30/06/2021

Asthma https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/asthma Accessed on 30/06/2021

Asthma https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/asthma/symptoms-causes/syc-20369653 Accessed on 30/06/2021

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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated Jun 30
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel