In most asthma cases, food allergies and intolerances will trigger inflammation or result in the narrowing of the lung airways. An estimated 19 million individuals in the country have mild to moderate asthma, and it is vital for them to monitor their food intake. Drastic changes in daily eating habits will not necessarily help; however, moderation lowers the risk of flareups. Here are 4 such foods that trigger breathing difficulties for those with asthma.
4 foods that worsen breathing issues in asthma
Foods high in fat content
Red meats are heavily processed and contain saturated fats, which leads to an increase in LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels in the body. Most saturated and processed fats tend to worsen symptoms like inflammation, causing difficulty breathing. The risk is especially high among people who suffer from conditions like asthma or COPD.
Dairy foods and beverages
Whole milk (the full fat variant) can trigger excess mucous production when the body breaks down the dairy product during digestion. Mucous buildup in the lungs increases the risk of infection and worsens the inflammation linked to asthma flareups.
Preservatives and artificial sweeteners
Most foods bought off the shelves in the supermarket are laced with preservatives and additives to increase their shelf life. These include different types of sulfites found in pickled foods and snacks, frozen seafood, and dried fruits or vegetables. Additives can trigger asthma flareups. Also, one of the more commonly used artificial sweeteners, aspartame, is the leading cause of food allergies that develop with asthma.
Foods that are rich in salt
Excess consumption of salty foods leads to an imbalance in sodium levels in the body. This increases the risk of edema, which is a fluid buildup that leads to swelling, causing blood pressure levels to rise. High blood pressure results in pulmonary hypertension, one of the risk factors associated with common respiratory disorders.
If the symptoms flare up persistently even after modifications and changes in the daily food regime, immediate medical attention is advisable. It could indicate a sharp increase in food intolerances. Asthma cannot be cured, but early diagnosis and treatment will help improve the overall quality of life.
To manage the symptoms, doctors may also prescribe asthma treatments like XOLAIR® injections. It belongs to a class of biologics approved by the FDA to treat and manage the symptoms of allergic asthma. The injection prevents certain allergens from actively triggering inflammatory responses in the airway, thus preventing breathing problems.
Atypical cystic fibrosis (CF) is classified as a milder form of the original disorder that causes a mild dysfunction affecting 1 organ system. Patients with atypical CF do not experience the usual symptoms. For such rare mutations, doctors suggest cystic fibrosis multitherapy to help improve pulmonary function among patients. Pulmozyme® inhaling solution is one of the approaches suggested for treating atypical CF with multitherapy using a nebulizer for symptom relief.
Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) lung disease is a lung infection characterized by fibrosis, scarring, and cavities, which are the most common signs of NTM bacteria in the lungs. The disorder is typically caused by mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), a large NTM group commonly found in water and soil. Early diagnosis and timely treatment can help alleviate such symptoms and pave the way for steady recovery from the condition.
Eosinophilic asthma is extremely rare, and finding the right treatments may be difficult. Corticosteroids and fast-acting inhalers can help, and bronchial thermoplasty is usually the last resort. To reduce inflammation, anti-eosinophil treatments like omalizumab and tralokinumab may be recommended. Those with eosinophilic esophagitis may be given proton pump inhibitors or monoclonal antibodies like Dupilumab. For those with other difficult-to-treat lung diseases like NTM, the antibacterial treatment Arikayce can help.