If you’re diagnosed with asthma, you know how serious and terrifying its attacks can be. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, asthma is the result of inflamed airways in your lungs. During an attack, these air passages swell, constricting your ability to breathe.
If you suffer from asthma, you’re probably aware of the common triggers: pollen, dust mites, mold. However, there are a number of lesser known things that might bring about your attack. While everyone’s symptoms and causes are different, it’s important to be aware of all of the possible triggers to minimize flare-ups and prevent threatening consequences.
Asthma and psychological distress might be a fatal pairing. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology explains how emotional anxiety and stress might increase your asthma symptoms. Even scarier, one might cyclically trigger the other: an asthma attack might cause anxiety, which would just exacerbate your symptoms.
Luckily, by managing your stress levels through exercise and proper rest, you can reduce your risk of a stress-induced attack.
Even if you don’t have a particular sensitivity to food, certain additives might generate your asthma attacks. Look out for preservatives, like sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium metabisulfite and sodium sulfite. Some food colorings have also been found to aggravate asthma symptoms. If you suffer from asthma, check your food labels: Know your allergens and be wary of any ingredient you’re unfamiliar with.
Just another reason to loathe those evil creatures; they’re not just gross, they might also trigger your asthma attack. According to the National Pest Management Association, a cockroach’s saliva, feces and shedding body parts contain an allergen that acts similarly to dust mites. Not to mention, cockroaches exist in 63 percent of homes in the U.S. Yuck.
Of course, the most effective way to prevent cockroach allergies is to eliminate the little buggers from your home: Keep your house clean, keep your food containers and garbage cans sealed, and consult a pest control company or exterminator.
It’s pretty obvious that physical fitness and respiratory health go hand-in-hand. However, one study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine strongly correlates obesity as a risk factor for asthma — and this is just one study of many. Even if you’re physically fit and you have asthma, you might develop symptoms while exercising (known as exercise-induced bronchoconstriction). Obese individuals who suffer from asthma are at a heightened risk of this kind of attack. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology stresses the importance of proper diet and exercise in the management of your asthma.
Certain medications have been found to trigger an attack — and one of those is aspirin. Even if you’re not sensitive to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), they might cause, or worsen, your asthma symptoms. Check in with your allergist before taking aspirin or ibuprofen, and before adding any new medications to your diet.