What are the factors adding to risk of a Heart Attack among active Asthma patients?
If you suffer from asthma, you might be worried about recent research that found a link between asthma and cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes. It is thought that in addition to the cardiovascular system and the respiratory system is closely linked, asthma medications like inhalers may be the problem. The studies found that people with active asthma and people who regularly use asthma medications are up to 60% more likely to experience a serious cardiovascular event.
Before you chuck out your inhaler, however, the same studies also state that proper asthma control can reduce and/or eliminate this risk. Effectively managing your asthma makes it less likely you’ll have chronic inflammation and any cardiac symptoms will be more obvious. Many asthma symptoms and cardiovascular symptoms can feel similar so if you have uncontrolled asthma, any warning signs of cardiac events may go unnoticed.
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic condition that makes the airways narrow and swells which makes it difficult to breathe. Depending on the severity of asthma, it may only happen once in a while and produce mild symptoms. For others, asthma can be a persistent and potentially life-threatening condition.
Asthma is often a condition that afflicts people their entire lives so it’s important to manage it effectively to prevent any complications. Our bodies change over time so staying on top of the condition with your GP will help ensure you’re treating it the best way possible.
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Frequent respiratory illnesses like cold and flu
COPD and Heart Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that affects your respiratory system and restricts airflow from the lungs. COPD makes it harder to breathe and also causes wheezing, coughing, and bringing up mucus. It’s usually caused by smoking, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema.
Like asthma, having COPD makes you more susceptible to many serious health conditions including heart disease and sudden cardiac death. It is thought that COPD and its complications increase the heart rate, causing systemic inflammation, and depriving the body of all the oxygen it needs to function.
How to Prevent Cardiac Disease
In addition to managing your asthma, you should take other steps to improve your heart health, especially as you get older. An added bonus is that many of these things will also improve your asthma.
- Move Around: Even moderate exercise can improve your lung and heart function. Opt for the stairs instead of a lift, park farther away from your destination, and walk wherever possible. All these things can add up, making your lungs and heart stronger.
- Quit Smoking and Vaping: Smoking cigarettes, vapes, and any other substances not only damages our respiratory system but also makes you more likely to suffer from multiple serious complications. It’s not easy, but going smoke-free will improve your health.
- Just relax: Stress can wreak havoc on your body and has been linked to both cardiovascular diseases and asthma. Find ways that work for you to relieve stress, whether it’s a warm cuppa, a long bath, or a walk with your furry friend.
- Treat Yourself: Have a bit of chocolate and a glass of wine from time to time- we promise it’s okay! Alcohol and cocoa have antioxidants that improve cholesterol levels and blood clotting.