As a physician caring for asthma patients, and as someone with asthma, I know well the connection between stress and asthma. I regularly hear stories from patients where stressful life events precede an asthma exacerbation. Stress, lack of sleep, uncontrolled asthma, these three work together to make asthma more difficult to treat. Medically speaking, we are still not sure why stress worsens asthma, but it may involve disruption of cortisol levels, the natural anti-inflammatory hormone in our bodies.
In the childhood story The Little Prince, the Prince lives alone on a small asteroid (called Asteroid B-612 on Earth) with several small volcanos. To prevent eruptions, the Prince must sweep out the small volcanoes’ craters with a broom, allowing them to burn gently.
I love this analogy because it teaches us that dealing with stress is an active, daily process in our lives, just as caring for your asthma.