3 Uncommon Things That Can Worsen Asthma

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3 Uncommon Things That Can Worsen Asthma

18 January 2017
, Blog

If you have asthma, then you're probably familiar with inhalers and nebulizers, which can be purchased from a company like B and B Medical Technologies and help open your airway to facilitate an effective pattern of breathing. While pediatric asthma is most common, adults can also be affected.

Common triggers for an asthma attack include upper respiratory infections, pet dander, certain foods, and hay fever; however, there are other, less common things that can increase your risk for characteristic asthma symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, and shortness of breath. Here are three uncommon things that can worsen your asthma and what you can do about them:

Beta Blockers

Beta blockers are used in the treatment of high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, migraine headaches, and sometimes anxiety. These medications are classified as either selective or non-selective. Beta blockers such as propranolol are non-selective, which means they affect both the heart and the lungs, whereas selective beta blockers are cardio selective, affecting only the heart.

Non-selective beta blockers can cause lung problems and airway restriction, and it is for this reason that doctors may be hesitant to prescribe them for people who have asthma. If you take non-selective beta blockers and notice a worsening in your asthma symptoms, talk to your doctor. Either lowering the dosage or switching to a selective beta blocker may dramatically help improve your condition. 

Acid Reflux

Acid reflux disease refers to when stomach acid escapes from your stomach and backs up into your upper digestive tract. If stomach acid reaches your airway, it can lead to spasms, wheezing, and coughing. To help prevent the respiratory symptoms of acid reflux, avoid trigger foods such as citrus fruit, coffee, onions, chocolate, and peppermint.

Also, try to maintain a healthy weight, sleep propped up so gravity keeps stomach acid from reaching your throat, don't smoke, and take your prescribed reflux medications. If these interventions fail to improve your symptoms, talk to your physician about taking acid blocking medications or calcium carbonate supplements, which can help neutralize stomach acid. 

Abscessed Tooth

If you have an abscessed tooth, or tooth infection, you may be at a heightened risk for an asthma attack. Oral infections can promote the release of chemicals in your body known as pro-inflammatory cytokines. These chemicals can lead to systemic inflammation, including inflammation of your lung tissue and airway. If you have a dental infection, see your dentist as soon as possible.

You may need a course of oral antibiotics, and if the infection is severe, tooth extraction may be recommended. Like an abscessed tooth, gum disease can also lead to a body-wide inflammatory response, so try to maintain a meticulous oral hygiene regimen if you have asthma or other respiratory conditions. 

If you have asthma and take beta blockers, have oral problems, or experience acid reflux, and notice a worsening of your symptoms, talk to your doctor about adjusting your nebulizer, inhalation treatments and corticosteroid medications to better manage your symptoms. The sooner your asthma is under tight control, the less likely you are to suffer shortness of breath, lung infections, excessive mucus production, or pulmonary damage.