Asthma

19 November 2010

Ex-girlfriend's Facebook page triggers man's asthma attack

Social networking might have triggered asthma attacks for one young man, who experienced breathing troubles whenever he accessed an ex-girlfriend's Facebook page.

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Social networking might have triggered asthma attacks for one young Italian man, who experienced breathing troubles whenever he accessed an ex-girlfriend's Facebook page.

Doctors are reporting the strange case in the The Lancet.

The 18-year-old man was depressed because his girlfriend had dumped him and also deleted him from her list of Facebook friends, while "friending" many new young men, the doctors explained in a letter to the journal.

The man, who was taking medications to control his asthma, used a new Facebook nickname to become the girl's friend again and see her picture on her Facebook profile. But every time he saw her picture, he suffered shortness of breath.

Facebook logins triggering asthma attacks

"The [man's] mother was advised to ask him to measure the peak expiratory [lung] flow before and after Internet login and, indeed, post-Facebook values were reduced, with a variability of more than 20%," write Dr Gennaro D'Amato, of the High Specialty Hospital A Carderelli in Naples, and colleagues. "In collaboration with a psychiatrist, the patient resigned not to login to Facebook any longer and the asthma attacks stopped."

After taking the man's medical history and giving him a thorough physical examination, the doctors discounted other possible environmental and infectious factors, and concluded that seeing his ex-girlfriend's Facebook page triggered the man's asthma attacks.

"This case indicates that Facebook, and social networks in general, could be a new source of psychological stress, representing a triggering factor for exacerbations in depressed asthmatic individuals," the doctors wrote. "Considering the high prevalence of asthma, especially among young people, we suggest that this type of trigger be considered in the assessment of asthma exacerbations."


(Copyright © 2010 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 

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Professor Keertan Dheda has received of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others.Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute

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