Can Anxiety Cause Asthma Symptoms?

Written by Jim Folk
Medically reviewed by Marilyn Folk, BScN.
Last updated March 27, 2021

Can Anxiety Cause Asthma Symptoms?

Complete Question

I've noticed that as my anxiety goes up, so does my asthma and its symptoms. Is there a connection between anxiety and asthma symptoms?

Answer

Currently, the cause of asthma is unknown. Many sources suggest there is a combination of factors that cause asthma, such as environmental and genetic.

There are, however, many aggravators and triggers of asthma symptoms and attacks, including stress, such as the stress caused by anxious behavior.

While anxiety isn’t known to cause asthma, the stress caused by anxiety can aggravate asthma symptoms as well as trigger an asthma attack.

Asthma is caused by a narrowing and swelling of the airways, which can also cause a production of mucus that makes it difficult to breathe. Common symptoms of asthma include difficulty breathing, as well as couching and wheezing.

Some medical sources have linked the swelling of airways to inflammation, which can be triggered by an overly sensitive and reactive immune system.

Because stress can suppress the body’s immune system, stress can be play a role in the degree and prevalence of asthma and its symptoms.

Consequently, reducing stress can remove a common aggravator and trigger of asthma.

For more information about the connection between anxiety and asthma, see the “Asthma and Anxiety” symptom in our Anxiety Symptoms section.

We explain the link between anxiety and asthma in more detail in our Recovery Support area.

If you’d like personal assistance overcoming anxiety disorder and its symptoms, you can learn more about our anxiety disorder therapy option here.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our Anxiety Frequently Asked Questions page.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including Can Anxiety Cause Asthma Symptoms?