7 Annoying Ways Asthma Can Ruin Your Life

Not only is having asthma annoying, it's also annoyingly common. Overall, about 8% of adults in the U.S. have the condition, but that number has been rising for the past several years, according to the CDC. And it's more common among women than men. (Ugh.)

So what does it mean to have asthma? At its root, asthma is a chronic lung condition in which the airways become inflamed and narrow. This makes it harder to breathe — especially when you're exhaling — and can cause wheezing, coughing, and chest pain. Some people find that specific activities or elements of their environment can trigger the worst of their symptoms, possibly leading to life-threatening asthma attacks.

But it's also so, so much more than that. The condition often sneaks its way into unexpected areas of your life — including your mental health. As it turns out, not being able to breathe can be kind of a drag!

The good news is that, with a little perseverance, the vast majority of patients are able to find a treatment plan that works for them. So if your asthma is taking over your life (or you're just clinging to that rescue inhaler a little too tightly), definitely check in with your doctor to find another solution.

For now, though, read on to see some lesser-known ways asthma can impact your life — and some challenges that you now have permission to blame on the condition.

It's harder to stay active.

Exercise is one of the most common asthma triggers, and that makes it hard for people with asthma to do any sort of workout that involves strenuous breathing. Lower-impact activities (e.g. yoga) and slower-paced exercises (e.g. weightlifting) are usually less likely to trigger symptoms. But with adequate prep and treatment, you should be able to do even more strenuous activities — talk with your doctor about strategies to try. You can also try warming up slowly for about 10 minutes to ease your body into your workout (a good idea whether you have asthma or not) and avoid outdoor activities when pollen counts are high.
Allergies suck even more.

On their own, allergies are a huge pain, often showing up just when the nice spring weather rolls around. And, if your asthma is triggered by allergies, this is when you'll have to be extra proactive about your treatment of both allergies and asthma or be prepared to suffer their wrath.
Even minor colds are awful.

Although the common cold isn't exactly fun, it's also not usually a huge deal for most people. But, because it causes congestion, coughing, and an inflamed respiratory tract, it can trigger asthma symptoms in some patients, making the whole situation even less tolerable.
Your home has to be spotless.

Even if you don't have seasonal allergies, you can be allergic to things in your home, office, or environment, including dust, roaches, perfumes, and even cleaning products. So, if you have asthma, you have to manage indoor allergens and irritants to keep yourself comfortable at home.
Drinking makes you feel awful.

Yep, alcohol can irritate the membranes of your mouth and throat, stimulating the production of mucus there. It can also set off acid reflux symptoms. All of that can definitely exacerbate asthma. That's yet another reason to drink water alongside your alcohol drinks — it'll help keep that mucus moving and make a hangover less likely.
Sex can be a challenge.

Just like any other strenuous activity, sex can trigger asthma symptoms in some people. In fact, according to a recent survey from Asthma U.K., two-thirds of respondents said their asthma had negatively affected their sex lives. Add in the potential of a latex allergy, and you might be looking at some serious wheezing. So, if this is an issue for you, definitely bring it up with your doctor to find an effective management strategy.
Some painkillers are off-limits.

For some people with asthma, taking aspirin and other over-the-counter NSAIDs worsens their symptoms. Research shows the reaction is almost like an allergy, but isn't caused by the same biological process. Instead, it seems to be partly due to the way the painkillers block inflammation-related enzymes.
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