There may be factors that you have not considered in your asthma symptoms and treatment. When you have asthma, it’s important to be aware of your triggers, which are the environmental and behavioral factors that can exacerbate your symptoms and cause an attack.
Some Potential triggers, such as exercise and tree pollen allergies, are well-established asthma risk factors. You probably know them, even if you can’t always take steps to avoid them. But other possible asthma triggers are less obvious, and you may have overlooked or misunderstood them.
Beyond the triggers, it is also possible that problems related to your diagnosis or your treatment prevent you from effectively treating your symptoms. But it’s important to get to the bottom of what’s causing your symptoms so you can control them and breathe easier.
Here are nine surprising reasons why your asthma might not be under proper control.
1. You may have another health problem that is exacerbating your asthma.
Some health problems can contribute to your asthma symptoms. Environmental allergies are the most obvious example. But another, sometimes overlooked, condition that can make asthma worse is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Another condition that can make asthma worse is obstructive sleep apnea. When your upper airway becomes blocked while you sleep. Many people suffer from this disease and do not know it, so it is not treated.
Obesity can also make asthma worse. Because you have all these tissues weighing on your lungs. So it becomes difficult to breathe while you are exercising. Two other related conditions that can both aggravate asthma and mimic its symptoms are tracheomalacia and bronchomalacia. People with these conditions have airways that are flaccid.
2. Strong emotions can trigger asthma attacks
In people with anxiety disorders, a panic attack can trigger an asthma attack due to the hyperventilation that often occurs . But even strong emotions that don’t belong to any particular disorder can also contribute to asthma symptoms. These include being upset or stressed, or even laughing out loud or crying. It is not always possible to avoid these emotions and reactions, of course. But it can help to take steps to reduce stress through adequate sleep, lifestyle changes, relaxation techniques and exercise.
3. Misconceptions about your pet.
For both cats and dogs, there are breeds that are marketed as “hypoallergenic”. But if you ask an allergist, they’ll tell you it doesn’t exist. It is true that some dog breeds do not shed. And that some cat breeds produce less hair and dander. But you can still develop allergy and asthma symptoms from exposure to these animals. Indeed, allergens are always present in the saliva and skin of cats and dogs.
4. Weather changes.
Moving from warmer air to colder air or from drier air to humid air can trigger asthma. This can happen when you step out of a controlled environment, or simply when the weather changes on its own with each season. Although you can’t control the weather, you can try to limit your time outdoors. For example, if heat and humidity are triggers for you, try to stay indoors in a cool environment whenever possible. And when it’s cold outside, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf when you go outside to help warm the air you breathe into your lungs.
5. Hormonal changes.
Hormonal changes at different stages of life: puberty, pregnancy and menopause can worsen asthma in women. But this doesn’t apply to all women, and some women even see their asthma improve during pregnancy. Doctors don’t fully understand the role hormones play in asthma. But if you’re going through a period of hormonal change, it’s worth considering the possible effects this may have on your asthma control.
6. Medications you are taking.
The most common example of medication interfering with asthma control is beta-blockers. They are prescribed to treat certain cardiovascular conditions. There may also be lesser level interactions between medications for asthma and for other conditions. It is therefore important that every doctor you see knows about your asthma and what medications you are taking to manage your symptoms.
7. The foods you eat.
Food allergies can trigger asthma in some people. Although they more frequently trigger breathing difficulties as well as hives, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. But even if you don’t have food allergies, you may be sensitive to sulphites. A preservative found in some foods and medications that can trigger asthma symptoms.
Common sources of sulfites are wine, beer, shrimp, dried fruit, vinegar, wine. If you think the foods you eat may be triggering your asthma symptoms, keep a food and symptom diary to help you identify trigger foods to eliminate from your diet.
8. You may have a more serious type of asthma.
If you are unable to control your asthma well, it may just have gotten worse. This may be due to inadequate treatment earlier in the course of the disease. Which can then lead to permanent damage to the lungs. In these cases of asthma, instead of being a reversible disease, it has become more chronic and fixed.
You may also have a more severe type of asthma, such as eosinophilic asthma, which can be more difficult to control.
9. Your symptoms are not actually caused by asthma.
It is common to think that you are having an asthma attack, but in reality the symptoms are not due to asthma. Many patients have symptoms of chest tightness and wheezing, and think these symptoms must be an asthma attack. But it is possible that these symptoms are caused by another respiratory or throat disease. Such as vocal cord dysfunction.
In these cases, if it is not actually asthma, treatment with a daily inhaler will not be effective.
If you have any doubts about your asthma, ask to be referred to an allergist or a pulmonologist. They can help you determine the cause of your symptoms.
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