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Asthma Associated Conditions

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This information was reviewed and approved by Flavia Cecilia Lega Hoyte, MD (2/6/2023).

There are multiple conditions associated with heightened asthma symptoms. There are also several conditions, such as vocal cord dysfunction (VCD), that can be mistaken for asthma in certain cases. As always, it’s best to consult with your doctor to determine whether your current condition may be worsening aspects of your asthma.

Pregnancy and Hormonal Changes 
Some women with asthma have increased symptoms at a particular time during their menstrual cycle, such as pre-menstruation, or during pregnancy. This worsening results from a change in the balance of hormones that is occurring at that time. Your health care provider may adjust asthma medications during that time to reduce your symptoms. Read more about asthma and pregnancy.

Gastroesophageal Reflux
Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD, occurs when the acidic contents of the stomach flow back up into the esophagus. This stimulates a reflex that may cause asthma to worsen. Symptoms of heartburn and breathing difficulty at night can indicate GERD.

Vocal Cord Dysfunction
Vocal cord dysfunction (VCD) symptoms occur at rest or during exercise and can be mistaken for asthma. Similar to asthma, VCD causes difficulty breathing, which can be severe in some cases. Learn more about what happens during VCD, as well as how it’s diagnosed, triggered and treated here.

Chickenpox (varicella) used to be one of the most common childhood viral diseases. It’s also a condition that can aggravate asthma symptoms, causing severe respiratory issues in some cases. Although chickenpox is highly contagious, it can be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine. If your child has asthma and contracts chickenpox, make sure to contact your doctor immediately.

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