Healthy Living

Is Asthma More Difficult to Control in Fibromyalgia Patients?

Is Asthma More Difficult to Control in Fibromyalgia Patients?

For those who have fibromyalgia, there are various symptoms that will be experienced. Recent studies show that having other underlying conditions, such as asthma, is one of them. What does asthma have to do with fibromyalgia and how does this chronic illness affect your breathing?

Studies have shown that there is a difference in how patients with fibromyalgia handle asthma as compared to those without the chronic illness. The research focused on subjects who had a similar severity of asthma attacks and were prescribed the same drugs to manage it. They were also similar in characteristics, with the same age and weight range. They also note that some subjects in the study are smokers as well. 

Fibromyalgia patients typically have more difficulty with other conditions

Researchers have noted that fibromyalgia patients have poorer control of asthma, with other health issues more often seen in patients with both asthma and fibromyalgia. These health problems include gastroesophageal reflux disease, depression or anxiety. Most people who have these health issues were diagnosed with asthma before fibromyalgia.

Since asthma is another chronic illness that affects the lungs, it would inflame and narrow airways which cause people to wheeze and worsen their breathing. With fibromyalgia, one may also experience breathing problems from time to time, especially when you stumble into certain triggers. Since you already have breathing problems with fibromyalgia, it might be difficult to control asthma, especially when under attack.

Why does fibromyalgia affect breathing in the first place?

Studies show that it is common for people with fibromyalgia to feel like they have shortness of breath or feel like they need more air. About 50% of people who have the chronic disease reported not being able to breathe properly, which is a condition known as dyspnea.

The reason why it happens may be due to chest wall pain or from brain stem abnormalities from low blood flow. Although, more research needs to be done to prove this. Another reason as to why fibromyalgia patients have difficulty breathing is because of the lack of thyroid hormone regulation, which weakens the respiratory muscles and can be linked to trouble in controlling asthma.

One of the common symptoms of fibromyalgia is chest pain and breathing difficulties, both of which are also symptoms of asthma. As patients already find it difficult to breathe, they may also have trouble controlling their asthma attacks and finding a way to adequately cope with it, as compared to those who do not have the chronic illness.

Other complications

With this inability to breathe due to both asthma and fibromyalgia, one may experience hyperventilation or anxiety. This may be a reason why more people with both conditions suffer from anxiety and depression. The anxiety attacks come due to the inability to breathe, which may even worsen the situation.

Various causes or triggers may signal an asthma attack, which is the shortness or breath or contraction of the diaphragm. It may be due to strenuous activities such as work or exercise, or it can come from certain feelings or food you eat. Some people have experienced asthma attacks due to heightened levels of excitement, or from eating trigger foods such as shrimp or eggs. It can also be from air pollution and smoking. Other times, it can come randomly and may be triggered by an anxiety attack, which revolves around deeper psychological triggers.

So when you do experience asthma attack and have fibromyalgia, you may experience more intense symptoms that are difficult to calm down. But fortunately, there are ways to treat it, so you will be able to manage and control it until you return to normal.

What to do during an asthma attack?

For starters, if you begin to experience the symptoms of an asthma attack, the important thing to do is to stay calm to avoid an anxiety attack that may worsen the situation. If you have trouble breathing due to asthma, then take deep breaths for one minute to prevent a full-blown panic attack. Do calming exercises, such as letting your to match expand as you take each breath to allow more air into your lungs.

For those who have a mini asthma attack, I recommend you to sit down and focus on breathing. Steam helps clear the congestion and allows air into your lungs. Again, breathing and calming exercises will work here. If not, you may need to take an inhaler for a quick fix or to use a nebulizer if prescribed by one from your doctor. Your doctor may also prescribe you medicine to help relieve you from the pain and symptoms.

There are also natural remedies one can follow to soothe an asthma attack, such as making ginger or honey tea to decrease airway inflammation. Though I recommend you to follow what your doctor says to avoid the attack from flaring up.

Preventing an asthma attack or breathing problems from fibromyalgia may be a bit difficult, as it comes from unexpected triggers. But the best you can do is to follow a healthy diet and exercise regime to lessen the breathing problems associated with fibromyalgia. Start with calming exercises such as meditation and yoga to stay mindful while focusing on your breathing.

Lessen the risks

To lessen the risk of an asthma attack, learn your triggers and avoid them at all costs. Avoid feeling stressed or over excitement, as well as any form of smoke and air pollution that disturbs your lungs. Your doctor will be able to prescribe supplements or medication requires for you to maintain and control your asthma attacks, as well as your breathing problems and anxiety if ever you are diagnosed with it.

The battle with fibromyalgia isn't over yet. There are still studies that need to be done for medical practitioners to find out how to treat both asthma and fibromyalgia for patients to have an easier time controlling both conditions. Thanks to this study on asthma and how it affects fibromyalgia patients, we are now one step closer to finding ways to prevent and treat asthma attacks from worsening the patients' condition.

If you are fibromyalgia patient and also have asthma, there are safety procedures like these you can follow. Having both conditions doesn't automatically mean that your symptoms will worsen. Once you have identified your triggers, you will have a better time controlling the attacks from happening again. Simply keep a positive outlook and learn how to calm yourself down if any episodes do happen. If you have more tips or would like to share your experiences with having asthma and fibromyalgia, then comment down below. All submissions will be greatly appreciated.