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Stress and Asthma

As some of you may know, in South Africa we are having some serious unrest, looting and protest action around the country. Our small town has not seen too much of it yet, but is on high alert. The stress of it all is making people Irritable and cranky, we are battling to believe that we are as close to war conditions than we ever have been. Suddenly after a period of calm, my asthma is flaring up. It may be the wind and residue from arson fires, but I am wondering if just stress alone can cause asthma flareups? I plan to do some research on the physiological processes surrounding this possibility. Any thoughts?


  1. Hi again, jules - it's so good to hear from you again and yet, I am saddened to learn of what is happening (in terms of unrest), in your part of the world. My heart goes out to you!
    You may be aware that this condition (asthma), can sometimes have periods of remission for considerable periods of time for some patients. The reasons for calm can range all the way from proper medication regimens to quiet and stress-free lives. As you pointed out, anxiety and stress, can certainly have an effect on the condition for patients who are susceptible to stress / anxiety as a trigger.
    As you begin to do your own research, I thought this article, on intrinsic asthma, might provide you with some additional insight for your concern: https://asthma.net/types/intrinsic-nonallergic. I do hope you find it to be helpful in a practical way.
    Please do keep us apprised of your progress. Stay safe, too - my thoughts will be with you.
    Warmly,
    Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

    1. Thanks so much for sharing a little bit of your world with us! It's true, it has been a stressful time for many people all over the world. I remember clearly the food shortages and empty shelves the US faced last year -- we are still struggling with higher than usual prices for some things, like meat and fuel. But here the situation with COVID has been much better in most places. I have faith that with time and patience, we will see better days ahead for you as well. Keep safe. <3

      Leon, maybe we can get an ice cream the next time I come your way to visit friends. 😀 -Melissa, asthma.net team


    2. Sounds like a plan, Melissa - if it works out, we can certainly try!
      Leon (site moderator asthma.net)

  2. I have good friends from South Africa and I know they too are watching the situation carefully. There is no doubt that stress and anxiety are triggers for asthma. Sadly, in any form, stress is hard to avoid. However, it's especially difficult when we have little control over the situation. A while ago this one of our contributors wrote this article about politics and stress - I think it's applicable here as well. I know I found it helpful here in the USA, as we've had more upheaval in the last few years than many of us can remember in the recent past. I hope you get some tips to deal with your stress from it. https://asthma.net/living/politics-stress

    I'll be thinking of you.
    Lyn (asthma site moderator)

    1. That article is such a great find, Lyn! I'd forgotten about it. Thank you for re-sharing, so applicable.

      Jules, our hearts and concern are with you through this time. Please take good care of yourself and try to rest each day. We are here for you! -Melissa, asthma.net team

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