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This research project of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America was made possible with support from AstraZeneca.

It’s obvious that asthma affects your health. But how does it impact other areas of your life? The results of our My Life With Asthma online survey showed us how severe asthma can affect relationships, emotions and activities.

The study looked at two groups:

  • People with “severe uncontrolled” asthma (Group A)
  • People with “not severe uncontrolled” asthma (Group B)

Impact on Personal Relationships

Asthma doesn’t just affect the person who has it. Parents, spouses, coworkers and caregivers can feel its negative impact. The effects of severe uncontrolled asthma reach much further than its effects on health.

Our report showed that most people with severe asthma felt it affected their personal relationships. As many as 64 percent of Group A reported that it affected their family relationships. And 55 percent said it had a negative impact on their relationships with their spouses or significant others and friends. Only 17 percent said the disease has no impact on their relationships.

In Group B, 38 percent said asthma had no effect on their relationships.


Impact on Activities

When it came to activities, Group A felt asthma had a much greater impact than Group B. In Group A, 40 percent said their everyday activities were extremely limited, compared to only 8 percent in Group B. Those in Group A also missed more work and school or had trouble with performance.

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Impact on Emotions

When asthma affects your relationships and activity, it’s no surprise it can have an emotional impact. Both groups felt a range of negative emotions because of asthma. But Group A reported feeling these negative emotions the most. Some of the emotions included:

  • Frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Annoyance
  • Fear
  • Depression

High numbers of those in Group B felt some of the same emotions but not as much as Group A.


When you have a chronic disease, you can feel its effects in every part of your life. The impact of asthma goes far beyond health. The My Life With Asthma report helps us highlight these effects so we can change conversations about asthma. And by changing conversations, we can offer better education and raise more awareness.

Read our summary of the My Life With Asthma survey results:

Download Report

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What I dont like about it is that it made me feel less important to people than their pets and that for many years I also treated myself that way and put myself around animals that made me suffer so badly until I had a heart attack due to allergic eosinophils surrounding my heart and choking it, then I took it seriously but still others dont and I struggle to stay strong and remember what happened to me so that that never happens to me again and its difficult because friends get dogs and I cant go to their home anymore and I am so tired of it all. I know Im not making stuff up or being dramatic or its in my head now after a lifetime of dealing with going to a home and wheezing and sneezing, and staying outside and groggy on benadryl and eyes swollen shut and coughing and ... Just feeling like death... And people ignoring me and it.... then I try so hard to treat it with everything in the book, just to get a chronic allergic disease on my late 20s and nearly die...  I have to fight just to keep my home air clean and everyone is obsessed with bringing their pets everywhere (to grocery stores to drug stores to the allergists office even!!) and it is hard for me to even hear stories where a child is forced to be with a pet they're allergic to and I see them hiding it or trying to and my heart breaks all over again with sadness. Pets are supposed to bring love, not sickness and hardship. Not meds and shots. Not broken families and broken hearts. People are losing jobs for allergies because they dont want to get sick from service dogs being in planes and cars and small not ventilated indoor environments where they are chronically exposed and they have no rights and are made fun of and called dramatic and told THEY are discriminating against this non-blind, fully-functioning adult who says they need their dog because it provides them emotional support. Well it doesnt provide me emotional support. Or the ability to breathe and live. What about my rights? So I am just angry. And not even at my asthma and allergies anymore but what it has taught me about others, and where it is taking us, and helplessness-- definitely helplessness. There are no laws or protections for people like me. And asthma and allergies are on the rise. No one likes to talk about dander-- fine if its smoking or dust... But no one wants to talk about dander. I dont either. But I need to breathe. And no vacuuming or putting a HEPA in with the pet is not enough. I tried that. No study shows that effective in eliminating reactions from allergic individuals. Studies show even secondhand dander coming into classrooms causes worse asthma for kids and worse prognosis. So definitely people need to respect shared air space and find better practices in saving some space for those with dander allergies and asthma and related duseases to be safe in. 

Last edited by Shea

@Marie E Natzke , laughter is one of my biggest asthma triggers. It stinks because I consider myself to have a great sense of humor and I'm the type who laughs so hard I have tears streaming down my face.  But it comes at a cost, every time. 

Melanie Carver

What I really find annoying about asthma is it robs me of being able to have a good belly laugh...I starting coughing and lose my breath.  So because people don't see me laugh too much they think I'm a crab!!!

Marie E Natzke
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