Alcohol and Asthma: What is Their Correlation?
If you have asthma, drinking alcohol may be giving you more than just a headache the next day. Studies have shown that drinking alcohol can trigger asthma symptoms or potentially make your other triggers worse. So, even though you love having that glass of wine after a long day, it may be what is causing some of your asthma symptoms.
Why Does Alcohol Trigger Asthma?
Some types of alcohol have substances in them called histamines and sulfites that are known asthma triggers. Histamine is found naturally in many foods and drinks and is what your body releases whenever you have an allergic reaction. Sulphites are a natural byproduct of the manufacture of beer, cider, and wine or may be added as a preservative to wine to stop it from fermenting.
What Effects Can Alcohol Have on Asthma?
Of course, alcohol can affect everyone differently when it comes to asthma. Many people may not have any asthma side effects at all when they drink alcohol whilst others may notice symptoms after just a sip or two. Or they may only be affected by certain types of alcohol. It is also not uncommon for alcohol to cause symptoms the day after drinking. These symptoms can include tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing, or wheezing.
Preventing Asthma Triggers from Alcohol
Everyone has different asthma experiences, but there are a few things you can do to prevent alcohol from triggering your asthma.
- Try not to drink wine, beer, and cider as these contain higher levels of sulphites and histamine
- Avoid alcohol altogether or try low-sulphite wine
- Only drink alcohol that you know isn’t a trigger for you
- Take your preventative asthma medications as prescribed
- Carry a reliever inhaler with you if you’re going to be drinking
- Let your friends and family know the symptoms they should look out for in case you are too inebriated or unwell
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