Asthma UK community forum

Asthma or Anxiety?

I have asthma and it isn't incredibly well controlled at the moment (pf 300-350). I'm also having quite a lot of stress at work at the moment - I'm a social worker - and find myself worrying a lot about work issues most of the time. My asthma is quite symptomatic a lot of days - wheezy/short of breath but generally my asthma control has improved over the last six months.

For the last few nights I've been waking up short of breath, tight chest, unable to regulate my breathing pattern for around half an hour and assumed it was asthma. But at the same time I am also having very panicked thoughts about work. So I wondered if it is actually anxiety (I've never really had anxiety attacks before). I've been doing breathing exercises taught by a chest physio and that helps too after a while.

How do you tell the difference?

2 Replies


Sorry that your job is so stressful, being a social worker must be very tough at the best of times; maybe you can take a look at the factfile Asthma Uk have produced about anxiety and asthma:

Perhaps consider phoning the asthma uk nurses on here (number top left hand corner) who may be able to help you distinguish between the two and perhaps book an appointment with your GP.

The problem is if your experiencing asthma symptoms most asthmatics will panic (you can't breath and it's your bodies natural response) however over breathing can make asthma symptoms worse and then the cycle continues adding stress of work into this cycle isn't ideal but so hard to stop!

Best of luck



Thanks for your reply - I've had a look at the factfile and it's definitely helpful! My asthma has only been badly controlled since I started the job I'm doing two years ago, which should tell me something in itself! I think it's a bit of both. Very frustrating!


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