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Laughter Can Set Off Asthma

Published Online: Thursday, September 1, 2005   [ Request Print ]

Is laughter-induced asthma a sign that an individual's asthma is not properly controlled? New research suggests that it may be an indicator. A study of 235 patients with asthma found that 56% of the participants noted laughter as a trigger for their breathing problems. Coughing and chest tightness were the most prevalent symptoms associated with this type of asthma. Laughterinduced asthma, however, did not appear to cause more asthma flare-ups requiring emergency room care or hospital stays, compared with other forms of asthma.

"Patients did report that, during times when their asthma is well-controlled, they can laugh for longer without getting asthma symptoms," said researcher Stuart Garay, MD. "That suggests that laughter-induced asthma may be a sign that a person's asthma is not as well-controlled as it could be. People with asthma should be allowed to laugh."

Although how laughter can cause asthma symptoms is not clear, it may involve hyperventilating. The amount of laughter that can cause asthma symptoms varied for each individual, noted Dr. Garay.

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