Can Stress Cause Asthma?

November 27, 2020 3 min read

Can Stress Cause Asthma?

Shop

If you suffer with asthma, you may well find that stress makes your asthma symptoms worse. But a new study tries to answer the question if stress can be an asthma cause. The outcome of the study is significant because it might help us understand more about how asthma works.

Writing in the Allergy journal, Dr. Adrian Loerbroks and his team at Heidelberg University in Germany, described a study of over 5,000 adults followed up for nearly ten years and tries to answer the question: can stress cause asthma? It turned out that those who reported high job stress at the start were twice as likely as those with low levels of job stress to develop asthma. However, the absolute numbers of new asthma cases were low. The study found that 2.4% of those reporting a lot of stress at work developed asthma, compared to 1.2% of those who were not stressed. This study does not actually prove that occupational stress causes asthma - it just demonstrates a link. It could be that there is some underlying common factor that makes people feel stressed and also predisposes them to asthma.

The researchers note that there is other evidence that chronic stress exposure, distressing life events, and stress-related personality traits also increase the risk of asthma. But this is the first study to show a link between work-related stress and new cases of asthma. We already know that job stress, particularly lack of control over workload, can cause an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and depression - probably also through chronic exposure of the body to the stress hormone cortisol. It may be that some similar effect is operating among people susceptible to asthma experiencing job stress.

It's easy to say you feel stressed by work, but how do researchers measure it? In this study, the participants were asked how much strain they felt at work and how often, at the end of the working day, they were still thinking about their job or felt exhausted or unable to cope. Not only did those with high work stress have a greater risk of developing new asthma, but those reporting stress were also more likely to have asthma to start with.

So answering the question 'can stress cause asthma' is quite complex. It may be that chronic stress has an impact upon the hormonal and immune systems which goes on to affect the airways. Further investigation of the link by research would probably be worthwhile. But reducing occupational stress would only prevent a very few cases of asthma, as the numbers involved in this study are so small. Companies should, instead, focus upon keeping employees safe at work by reducing exposure to triggers and indoor pollution. This study reflects recent findings on outdoor pollution and asthma. It used to be thought that pollutants like particulate matter merely worsened existing asthma. Now a report from the Committee on the Health Effects of Air Pollution showed that air pollution, particularly near busy roads, can actually cause asthma in people with a genetic susceptibility to the disease.

To find out more on how to control asthma symptoms, visit Asthma Air Purifier Information Page.

Source:

Loerbroks A et al Work-related stress, inability to relax after work and risk of adult asthma: a population-based cohort study Allergy 2010;65:1298-305



Also in News

Information About Hay Fever in March

Shop

Information About Hay Fever in March

March 08, 2021 3 min read

Hay fever in march tends brings on sneezing, a runny and/or blocked nose and red, streaming eyes. If you experience these symptoms, then it is likely that you have seasonal allergic rhinitis - also known as hay fever. Having Hay Fever means that you are likely allergic to pollen and, at this time of the year, it is most likely that tree pollen is the underlying cause.

Vax Air Purifier Review

Shop

Vax Air Purifier Review

February 09, 2021 6 min read

The VAX AP03 air purifier is a basic mid-range air purifier with basic features. The timer is simple, but the filter life indicator seems flawed. It is hard to imagine the odour/carbon filter to be anything else then ineffective in capturing and retaining gases and chemicals.
Wood Stove Pollution – How to Best Protect Yourself

Shop

Wood Stove Pollution – How to Best Protect Yourself

February 09, 2021 3 min read

Burning wood in a stove or fireplace is a common thing to do and can create a nice, cozy and warm atmosphere.  Wood burning, however, also releases a broad range of air pollution in the air and can pose a real threat for people with respiratory conditions such as asthma.

Be part of our regular news updates