Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes the airways to become inflamed, leading to breathing difficulties, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness.
While some people with asthma experience symptoms triggered by common factors such as pollution, dust, or pollen, there are some unusual triggers that can cause asthma symptoms in certain individuals.
On World Asthma Day, noted pulmonologist Dr Ravindra Mehta, Chief of Pulmonology and Critical Care at Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru, shares some of the unusual triggers of asthma.
Food allergens can be an unusual trigger for some asthmatics.
Modern life is full of fast food, packaged food, tinned food, and in such a situation, preservatives, additives and flavouring agents are a part and parcel of these to make them taste as good as they do.
With a number of these artificial agents in every packet/can, it’s hard to know what substance — or a combination of substances — could trigger an attack.
Emotional stress is a well-known trigger of an attack. It has an emotional- or stress-based component of about 20-30 percent.
Anxiety and stress can cause the body to release hormones that can lead to airway inflammation, making it harder to breathe.
Additionally, emotional stress can cause rapid breathing or hyperventilation, which can also trigger symptoms.
Any kind of stress — physical, emotional, work-related — can trigger an attack.
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Strong odours and perfumes
Strong odors and perfumes can be an unusual trigger for some individuals with asthma.
Perfumes, cleaning products, and even scented candles can release chemicals that irritate the airways and cause asthma symptoms.
It is important to avoid using products that contain strong odours and perfumes, especially in enclosed spaces.
While cold air is a common trigger for people with asthma, some individuals experience asthma symptoms when exposed to cold air in unusual ways.
For example, some people may experience asthma symptoms when drinking cold beverages or eating cold food.
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Exercise-induced asthma in where physical activity triggers asthma symptoms.
While exercise is important to improve lung capacity, some individuals with asthma may experience symptoms during activities that are not typically considered strenuous, such as walking or climbing stairs.
Some women with asthma experience worsening symptoms during their menstrual cycle. This is thought to be due to hormonal changes that occur during the menstrual cycle, which can cause inflammation in the airways.