Asthma, Panic Attacks May Be Linked

The finding might lead to better control of both disorders

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WEDNESDAY, June 1, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Asthma and panic disorder may sometimes work hand-in-hand, according to a new study.

The 21-year study of 591 adults in Switzerland found active asthma predicted subsequent panic disorder and the presence of active panic disorder predicted subsequent asthma.

"This is the first long-term follow-up study on asthma and panic," researcher Dr. Gregor Hasler of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, said in a prepared statement.

His team's findings appear in the current issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Hasler and his colleagues concluded that people with asthma could have increased levels of anxiety, which could lead to panic in vulnerable people. In addition, asthma drugs can cause anxiety and anxiety may increase the use of asthma medications.

"The findings of this study have potentially important implications in asthma management. The possibility that appropriate treatment of panic attacks has the potential to decrease future asthma activity is suggested by the predictive ability of panic disorder on subsequent asthma activity," Hasler said.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about asthma.

SOURCE: American Thoracic Society, news release, June 1, 2005

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