What is the Connection Between Asthma and Hypertension?

Brandon May

According to published research, there does seem to be a connection between asthma and hypertension in adults, yet very little research supports this connection in adolescents. Although the link between hypertension and allergic disease is suspected, more research needs to be done to establish a definite explanation for the correlation. There is some evidence suggesting a relationship between asthma and hypertension in pregnancy, yet only theories exist for the possible cause. Various correlations have been made which associate medications for asthma and hypertension to the development of one or the other conditions, yet further research must be conducted to provide definite proof the correlations exist.

An asthma inhaler.
An asthma inhaler.

Asthma is a disease of inflammation to the airways of the lungs, causing symptoms of coughing and shortness of breath. When this aggravation continues to occur, it places unneeded stress on the body, inducing higher states of excitement in the nervous system. Any form of stress that occurs to the body which induces physical excitement causes blood pressure to escalate. If this form of excitement continues, blood pressure levels can increase to undesirable levels and lead to a diagnosis of hypertension. This is usually seen in poorly managed asthma conditions that result in a struggle to maintain healthy airway flow.

An illustration of the pathology of asthma.
An illustration of the pathology of asthma.

A meta-analysis study showed that there is a significant correlation between mothers who have pregnancy-induced asthma and hypertension, suggesting a link between the two conditions. This study did not look for the actual connection between the simultaneous occurrence of the conditions, yet showed that many pregnant mothers who had one of these conditions also suffered from another. It is theorized that the stress of childbirth and parenting can bring forth increased blood pressure flow, or that certain hormones during pregnancy can actually create physiological responses that increase blood pressure. Beta blockers are thought to be an appropriate and simple treatment for hypertension, yet many medical professionals warn against their use for those suffering from both asthma and hypertension, and for those who are pregnant.

There seems to be a connection between hypertension and asthma in adults.
There seems to be a connection between hypertension and asthma in adults.

Most researchers will agree that asthma and hypertension are both common conditions and therefore seem related when present in one individual. This does not necessarily mean they are connected, yet it does seem probable there is a link. The most simple theory of their connection comes down to psychological and physical stress affecting blood pressure levels, thus leading the individuals to become unaware of their natural breathing patterns. This may become a problem if stress is experienced over a long period of time, as breathing patterns will become more unnatural as the body becomes further associated with the behavior.

In some cases, hypertension and asthma are separate conditions that do not contribute to one another.
In some cases, hypertension and asthma are separate conditions that do not contribute to one another.

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Discussion Comments


I think we're forgetting one important point. Anti-histamines used to treat asthma and allergies can also cause high blood pressure. I know this because my mom has high BP and she cannot take any cold medicine with antihistamine because it raises her blood pressure. So maybe that's the connection.


@bear78-- That's a good point. I agree that someone who doesn't have asthma attacks frequently shouldn't really have high blood pressure all the time. If a diagnosis for high blood pressure requires chronic high levels, I doubt that most asthma patients who are using antihistamines and vasodilators to keep their symptoms under control would fit into this category. I'm not a doctor though so I could be wrong.

As far as I understand, the relationship between these two illnesses is still being studied. Perhaps doctors will find a straightforward explanation in the new future. Maybe there is a close connection between asthma and high blood pressure and maybe not.


I don't really understand the connection between asthma and hypertension.

It's not surprising that someone who is having an asthma attack would have high blood pressure at the same time. We all experience high blood pressure when we're stressed like the article said. The difficulty breathing caused by asthma is also likely to affect blood pressure as blood pressure, pulse and respiration and intricately connected.

By why would someone who has their asthma mostly under control and who does not have frequent asthma attacks have high blood pressure? I don't see the connection there.

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