What is the relation between caffeine and asthma? Does the former ingredient help asthmatics, or consumption of the same actually worsens the problem. Get all the answers from the following segment.
The relation of caffeine and asthma is one of the hotly debated topics in medical science. While most studies have concluded that the effect of caffeine is not beneficial for managing asthma symptoms, some newer researches have come to light which purport otherwise. The reason some scientists have proposed that use of caffeine may help people with this respiratory condition is the former holding some properties that are similar to that of theophylline (a long-acting bronchodilator, that relaxes and dilates the bronchial passageway thus, making it easier to breathe).
Theophylline is a medicine that is prescribed for controlling and managing spasms of the airways; a common symptom in people with asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). Also certain studies have reported that caffeine has anti-inflammatory properties, which is yet another point that may establish its benefits for asthma.
Asthma – Some Facts
As most of us are already aware of, asthma refers to the swelling and narrowing of the airways – passages via which air reaches a person’s lungs. Although it is still not clear as what causes this condition, doctors have been able to identify certain factors which help in triggering an asthma attack. These include allergens that spread through air like dander, mold spores, mildew, pollen, dust mites, etc. Other triggers could be infections such as common cold, pollutants of the air, certain medications, strong surge of emotions, allergic response to foods, and sometimes, getting indulged in exercises.
Although asthma has no cure to it, with the help of medications, the severity and the frequency of attacks can be significantly moderated. The treatment of this condition involves avoiding triggers, and taking medications; the long term ones to reduce the chances of an attack, and short-term ones to provide quick relief when an attack occurs.
Effects of Caffeine On Asthma
As mentioned above, many recent studies have been able to exhibit the effect of caffeine on asthmatics as a bronchodilator. One of such studies was conducted on about 8 adult patients, who were diagnosed with asthma symptoms. The patients either received placebo or caffeine, and as long as 8 hours after the drink, various tests were conducted on the patients. And when the results came in, it showed caffeine showed significant improvements in managing the symptoms, as compared to the placebo effect. But what has to be considered here is, despite having so many effective drugs against asthma, why are scientists so much focused on something such as caffeine.
There are two main reasons behind this. The first being that, if caffeine is actually helpful in relieving asthma flare-ups, then it could be a better choice than medications. The second, and probably, a more important reason lies in the fact that, consumption of caffeine may affect the nature of tests or diagnosis conducted to determine how bad someone’s asthma actually is in the present situation. What happens normally is, caffeine when taken in small amounts, is known to stimulate lung function thereby improving it for up to four hours.
So this means that, if a person consumes the same before undergoing a test for lung function (which is important in determining the stage of his asthma), he would show better results. So if in reality the patient’s condition requires a stronger asthma medication, he might be prescribed with a weaker drug, given his improved lung function in the test. So needless to say, this might create significant problems in managing the condition.
The association of caffeine with asthma is an ongoing study, so that medical experts can help people understand if the former product really helps in improving asthma symptoms, and if they should or should avoid taking caffeine before going for tests to determine the function of their lungs. So it is always better to consult his/her healthcare provider before attempting to manage this condition with caffeine.