Stress

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Harvard Medical School

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Stress

Asthma
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Strong emotional feelings can lead to a change in breathing patterns.
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InteliHealth
2009-12-03
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InteliHealth Medical Content
2011-12-03

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Stress
 
Although stress and emotional factors do not cause asthma, attacks can develop or worsen when you are excited, upset or angry; they can also be triggered by laughing or crying too hard. That's because strong emotional feelings can lead to a change in breathing patterns.
 
Children, in particular, can become anxious (if not hysterical) during an uncontrolled asthma attack; such anxiety can make breathing progressively more difficult. The more upset one becomes during an attack, the greater the likelihood that symptoms will worsen.
 
Often, the stress associated with asthma develops from attitudes or fears about having the condition. One may be worried or anxious about traveling or being alone during an attack. Children may be embarrassed, self-conscious or fearful about having an attack at school or while playing with friends. These fears and worries can be enhanced if parents are overprotective.
 
For all of the above reasons, whether stress is a clear trigger for you or your child and because stress can worsen an asthma attack, you should learn ways to control stress. In particular, learning relaxation techniques may be particularly helpful. Talk to your health care provider to learn more.

 

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Last updated October 02, 2013


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