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Other Health Conditions

Certain health conditions can compound the symptoms of asthma. These are called comorbidities. Many people with asthma may also have one or some of these conditions.

Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA)

Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is an allergy or sensitivity to a fungus found in soil. In this condition, there is both an allergic and an inflammatory response to the mold. People with asthma are at a higher risk of getting ABPA.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

COPD is a combination of lung diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, that can make it hard to breathe. Its symptoms are similar to asthma. Smokers are at a greater risk of having both asthma and COPD.

Food-Induced Anaphylaxis

Food is not a common asthma trigger. But your asthma can be affected by eating. Asthma can also make reaction worse if you have food allergies.

Sulfites, found in certain foods and alcoholic drinks, many trigger asthma symptoms.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, known as GERD, is when stomach contents flow into the esophagus. It’s commonly known as “heartburn,” and it has been associated with a cough. It can trigger asthma symptoms.

Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps are small growths on the lining of the inside of the nose or sinus cavities. They are not cancerous. They are usually soft and painless. They are often caused by chronic sinus inflammation.


There is a strong connection between obesity and asthma. Obesity is linked to asthma development, as well as worsening symptoms and poor symptom control. People with asthma who are also obese may have less lung volume and may not respond as well to asthma medicines.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that causes interruptions in breathing during sleep. Aside from sleepiness, it can create a higher risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and insulin resistance. OSA is a serious health risk.


Asthma commonly occurs during pregnancy. Many women report that their asthma gets worse when pregnant. Because it can be serious, it’s important for pregnant women to have the right treatment plan. Pregnant women with severe asthma are more likely to have complications like low birth weight and high blood pressure (pre-eclampsia).

Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections (also called respiratory illnesses) are common. These infections affect your lungs, nose, sinuses, and throat, especially when you have asthma. They can cause a runny nose, cough, fever, or sore throat.


The word rhinitis means “inflammation of the nose.” The nose produces fluid called mucus. Postnasal drip occurs when more mucus drains down the back of the throat. Substances in the mucus may irritate the back of the throat and cause coughing. The postnasal drip can also irritate the airways, causing asthma symptoms.


Sinusitis is an infection or inflammation of the sinuses. When the tissue inside the sinuses swells, mucus increases. Infection with a virus causes most cases of sinusitis. Colds, bacterial infections, allergies, asthma and other health conditions can cause sinusitis. If the sinuses remain blocked for a long time, a secondary infection may develop.

Talk to your health care provider about your asthma and your triggers. Be sure to discuss any changes in your asthma management.

Asthma Capitals

Where you live can have an impact on your asthma. AAFA’s Asthma Capitals™ report looks at the top 100 most challenging cities in the continental United States to live with asthma.

Read the Report>

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