How Stress Can Triggers Asthma

stress triggers asthma


I hope you have not missed out on the previous ‘stress series’ where we discussed the;

Well, welcome to another side of stress related ailments. It is STRESS AND ASTHMA.

According to Wikipedia, “Asthma is a chronic (long-lasting) inflammatory disease of the airways. In those that are prone to asthmatic attack, inflammation causes the airways to be narrowed periodically causing airflow obstruction and thus these individuals must wheeze or gasp for air”

Asthma can be likened to forcing air out of an inflated and tightened balloon where there is no space for air expulsion. The wider the exit and entry point of air, the easier it is to inflate or deflate the balloon when necessary.

Asthma in itself is stressful, isn’t it?

Asthmatic origins are of two types and this classification is based on the presence or absence of allergens. The first type is allergic induced asthma caused by exposure to an allergen and non-allergic induced asthma caused by exercise, illness like a cold or flu or even exposure to extremes of weather, irritants in the air, medications and of course STRESS.


Emotional stress could aid the induction of asthmatic attacks. These are but a few of how it can do so;

  1. Crying: Emotional type that induces crying usually results in an increased secretion of mucus and thus trigger asthma as this inflammatory response of mucus secretion can further occupy the normal path of airflow and thus trigger asthma by airflow obstruction.
  2. Anxiety: Why worry? Why the anxiety? Why make yourself more prone to asthmatic attacks with your anxiety and worry.

This is the deal; anxiety can cause physiological changes that may provoke an attack. Theses strong emotions can further help influence the release of chemicals such as histamine and leukotrienes which could result in the narrowing of the airway and thus making airflow very difficult(Katherine K, 2015)


Physical stress in the form of exercise can be helpful as discussed in previous series.

However, for the benefit of today’s topic, there are buts.

Ever heard of exercise-induced asthma? Well, people who not have allergies can still develop a form of asthma that is brought upon by aerobics. These episodes can last for several minutes and leave the individual gasping for air. Aerobic exercise lasting more than ten minutes or shorter periods of very heavy exercise can cause exercise-induced asthmatic attacks in susceptible individuals (McFadden JR, 2015)

Mr. Stress is at it again (I’m sure the guys are; like ‘Why is it not personified as a female?’.I’m not biased please).

Not only is stress indicated to be an indirect cause of elevated blood pressure beyond normal levels and a factor that worsens ulcer symptoms thus preventing the healing of ulcers but also is a non-allergen trigger for asthmatics.

I would round off this week with these few pieces of advice which are:

  • Be proactive to alleviate problems and worry less
  • Make time to have fun
  • Try various relaxation techniques

Enjoy the week ahead by making it fun-filled and stress-free. Bye for now and stay tuned for next week’s article.

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