Common Asthma Triggers You Should Know About
Asthma is a serious, chronic condition in which airways become inflamed and constricted, leading to difficulty breathing and–in rare cases–death. If you or someone you love has asthma, it’s vital to know the most common asthma triggers.
Allergies can temporarily irritate your respiratory system and flare up your asthma. Try to avoid or reduce contact with your usual allergens, especially those that are airborne, like seasonal pollen, dust mites, pet dander and mold spores.
Stress can flare up any chronic inflammatory condition, and asthma is no exception. Monitor your stress level and develop ways to manage it, whether that’s through meditation, yoga or anything else that helps you relax. Still, even strong emotions like a burst of laughter or torrent of tears could bring on an attack, because breathing under these conditions can be strenuous.
High-intensity exercise like running, especially in cold or extremely dry conditions, can bring on asthma attacks or even asthma-like symptoms in people who might not normally have asthma. This is called, creatively, exercise-induced asthma. This does not mean you can’t exercise if you have asthma; you just have to be smarter about it, easing into higher intensity levels and keeping an eye on the weather conditions. You may have difficulty breathing after about five minutes into your workout, but often this subsides after about 20 or 30 minutes. Some asthma sufferers choose to swim instead of run; researchers believe that the warm, moist air at the surface of the water makes breathing easier during exercise.
If you smoke, you’re almost guaranteeing an asthma attack because of all the irritating particles you’re breathing into your lungs. Quit smoking if you have asthma. Many health care organizations offer smoking cessation programs, and you may even save on your health insurance by quitting.
Research has found that almost 90 percent of people with asthma suffer from severe heartburn, also called gastroesophageal reflux disease–or GERD, which usually occurs when you are lying down or sleeping. If digestive acids back up as far as your throat, or if they get into airways, they could irritate tissues and bring on an asthma attack. Fortunately, GERD is diagnosed with a simple test and treated with medication or lifestyle strategies.
Coming down with a cold or other respiratory infection, like influenza or bronchitis, can trigger asthma, because your respiratory system is irritated. If you get sick, follow your doctor’s recommendations. It’s important to treat any bacterial infections promptly to avoid making your asthma worse.
Asthma is nothing to mess around with. If you have asthma, you might be controlling it with medications. But it’s also important to know the most common asthma triggers.
WebMD, “Asthma Causes and Triggers” https://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/asthma-triggers?page=1
WebMD, “What Allergies Cause Asthma?” https://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/allergies-asthma
American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, “Exercise-Induced Asthma” https://www.aaaai.org/patients/publicedmat/tips/exerciseinducedasthma.stm
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