How alcohol affects your breathing

Last time I completed SOBER October I noticed my breathing feeling better?


Asthma is a condition that causes peoples airways to become narrow, it becomes difficult to breath and it can be life threatening. Many people with asthma dread the change of seasons and any TRIGGER can set them off.



TRIGGERS such as stress, dust, pollen, diet and according to some studies alcohol can set asthma sufferers in the cascade of events known as an Asthma Attack. These attacks can take a short or long term to develop, and can be life threatening.

The upper airways constrict due to the TRIGGER and mucous is produced. This then turns the larger pipes in the upper airways to smaller ones. The work of breathing increases, you become short of breath which leads to more stress, and it can quickly get out of control.

If you have ever seen someone suffering from an asthma attack, it is very disturbing and sufferers need to take extra care when exercising, what they are eating, availability of medication, strict use of preventers and an increased knowledge and care for their health.


For the wine lovers, the story is not so good.

More than a 1/3 of wine lovers have experienced asthma type symptoms after drinking the delightful drop. The onset of symptoms, which generally present within the hour, so it can be quite predictable with certain wines. Keep a lookout for sulfites and histamines and if you would like to be extra careful, select the preservative free wines which can be a challenge to find.


In todays society, we are all STRESSED at some point in our life. We also know, if your stressed this also makes your asthma worse……AND guess what we do when we are stressed……DRINK more booze.

SO it maybe a causal relationship, but excessive drinking, 100% will make you more unable to deal with the stress. Its not the solution to bad times over a long term, and is going to make your asthma worse. This long term is a very challenging place to find yourself, and you are going to need some help from high quality health professionals. 

One more thing……

Alcohol impacts your breathing when you are sleeping, by increasing your drowsiness and relaxation of the upper airway muscles. This can cause periods of sleep apnoea. If you snore, or have already been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep apnoea, on the night you’ve had too many wines, your sleep will certainly be much worse. Do not use alcohol to help you get to sleep, particularly if you snore or are diagnosed with sleep apnoea, it will only make your sleep worse.

Alcohol increases both the number of stopping breathing events you will have per night, which increases the amount of time you are “awake”. It also increases the length of the apnoeas you will have, increasing the desaturation events impacting your health and fatigue.

Notable Mentions:

According to the study mentioned above, wine is seemingly the most allergenic alcoholic beverage. Organic wines that do not have preservatives added to them may be lower in sulfites. Beer also contains sulfites that could potentially trigger asthma symptoms.

To limit the effects of alcohol on asthma, a person should keep their alcoholic beverage intake to a certain type of alcohol for the night. If it causes symptoms, a person should avoid it. If it does not, it may be a less asthma-inducing drink type.

The volume of alcohol may also contribute to worsening asthma symptoms. While a glass of wine may not cause symptoms, drinking three glasses could have enough sulfites or histamines to trigger a reaction.

It’s also possible that a person cannot drink any alcohol type without having an asthmatic reaction. In this case, a person must weigh the importance of their health and severity of symptoms with their desire to drink alcohol.


Safe & Healthy

More Articles