Can chocolate worsen asthma?

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Once an individual is considered allergic to chocolate or one of the common ingredients present in chocolate, consuming it can worsen asthma. Asthma is a condition that involves swelling and inflammation in the lungs that restricts the airways, thus resulting to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing. Depending on the exact cause of the asthma, certain foods including chocolate might trigger an attack.

Since most of the allergy symptoms are due to inflammation of the soft tissues all over the body, consumption of chocolate can aggravate asthma. Once you notice that eating chocolate or foods that contain chocolate causes the symptoms of asthma to increase, he/she must stop eating all foods that contain chocolate until the doctor can properly assess the individual.

Chocolate allergy

It is important to note that chocolate allergy typically occurs once the individual eats chocolate that contains the common allergenic ingredients. Remember that the individual might be allergic to milk, cocoa, eggs, soy, tree nuts or peanuts that are typically present in most chocolate products available in the market.

During an allergic reaction, the immune system wrongly identifies the proteins in the common chocolate ingredients as a threat to the body. This reaction triggers the immune system of the body to attack the proteins with histamine and antibodies, thus causing the inflammation in the soft tissues.

Asthmatic reaction to chocolate

The histamine produced in the soft tissues of the lungs leads to inflammation and swelling. Once the lungs are swollen, the ability of the individual to breath is limited. This can result to a high-pitched sound during inhalation and exhalation as well as chronic coughing. In case asthma worsens after consuming chocolate, the individual should consult a doctor so that allergy testing can be performed to identify the ingredients that cause the inflammation in the lungs.

Asthma
Once the lungs are swollen, the ability of the individual to breath is limited.

Identifying the allergens

An effective way to identify the potential allergens is through allergy testing. A skin prick test and blood test are the commonly used types of allergy testing. The doctor will utilize the proteins that are most likely to trigger the symptoms and introduce a small amount beneath the skin.

If inflammation and redness occurs in the skin, it simply means that the individual is allergic to the substance. As for a blood test, it is utilized to determine if the blood produces immunoglobulin E antibodies once proteins are introduced to the blood.

Preventive measures

Once an individual has been diagnosed with a specific food allergy, potential trigger foods should be removed from the diet. Eliminating these ingredients or components from the diet can prevent further asthma attacks for occurring in case of accidental exposure. If an individual has been diagnosed with cocoa allergy, he/she cannot eat anything that contains cocoa such as chocolate bars, hot chocolate and chocolate cake.

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  • All stmarkjamestraining.ca content is reviewed by a medical professional and / sourced to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

  • We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable websites, academic research institutions and medical articles.

  • If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact us through our contact us page.