Snoring often seems like a silly inconvenience—something to make fun of your friend or significant other for. But sometimes, it can be a symptom of a larger problem.

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder characterized by excessive snoring, choking, and difficulty breathing during sleep. It’s typically been associated with health and lifestyle factors like smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and alcohol use. But studies have shown that people with asthma may also find themselves at risk for the disorder.

Asthma is another condition that can cause difficulty breathing, and research has demonstrated that there’s a clear correlation between these two disorders. In fact, people with asthma are 1.7 times more likely to develop sleep apnea than those without it, and for every five years someone lives with asthma, their risk for developing sleep apnea goes up by 10%!

Woman Using MiniElite Nebulizer

But if you suffer from asthma, this is no reason to panic. Many of these studies have focused primarily on people whose asthma symptoms are untreated or poorly controlled. You can lower your risk of developing sleep apnea, and ease your asthma symptoms, by simply taking good care of yourself.

  • Know what triggers your symptoms. The most common triggers are allergens, like dust, pollen, mold, and pet hair, or physical or emotional stress. Once you figure out which of these things tend to most frequently trigger your asthma attacks, it’s generally a simple matter of avoiding them. Keeping your house clean and free of dust, mold, and pets, as well as managing your stress levels through exercise, mediation, or therapy, are all great ways to lower your risk of an asthma attack.
  • Be sure that you have the proper treatments on hand. Inhalers, nebulizers, and asthma medication are all important tools for preventing and treating asthma symptoms. Something to make the air in your home clearer, such as a humidifier, is also a good idea, as it will keep your airways clear while you sleep.

All of these measures are important to take not only because they’ll keep you free from breathing related sleep disorders, but also because they’ll help you learn more about asthma and its treatment, and help you feel more in control of your own condition. While there’s no denying that having asthma does make you more prone to sleep apnea, both of these conditions are completely treatable and, if you’re smart and vigilant, completely preventable as well.