Asthma is characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes with increased production of sticky secretions inside the tubes. People with asthma experience symptoms when the airways tighten, inflame, or fill with mucus.
Common asthma symptoms include:
- Coughing, especially at night
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness, pain, or pressure
Still, not every person with asthma has the same symptoms in the same way. You may not have all of these symptoms, or you may have different symptoms at different times. Your asthma symptoms may also vary from one asthma attack to the next, being mild during one and severe during another.
Some people with asthma may go for extended periods without having any symptoms, interrupted by periodic worsening of their symptoms called asthma attacks. Others might have asthma symptoms every day. In addition, some people may only have asthma during exercise, or asthma with viral infections like colds.
Mild asthma attacks are generally more common. Usually, the airways open up within a few minutes to a few hours. Severe attacks are less common but last longer and require immediate medical help. It is important to recognize and treat even mild asthma symptoms to help you prevent severe episodes and keep asthma under better control.
Know the Early Symptoms of Asthma
Early warning signs are changes that happen just before or at the very beginning of an asthma attack. These signs may start before the well-known symptoms of asthma and are the earliest signs that your asthma is worsening.
In general, these signs are not severe enough to stop you from going about your daily activities. But by recognizing these signs, you can stop an asthma attack or prevent one from getting worse. Early warning signs of asthma include:
- Frequent cough, especially at night
- Losing your breath easily or shortness of breath
- Feeling very tired or weak when exercising
- Wheezing or coughing after exercise
- Feeling tired, easily upset, grouchy, or moody
- Decreases or changes in lung function as measured on a peak flow meter
- Signs of a cold or allergies (sneezing, runny nose, cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, and headache)
- Trouble sleeping
Asthma treatment can vary from inhalers to oral medications to drugs delivered in a nebulizer or breathing machine. Get a better understanding of how asthma medications work and learn about natural asthma remedies as well as ways to monitor your breathing at home.
- Asthma Treatment Options
- Asthma Medications
- Asthma Inhalers
- When and How to Use an Inhaler
- Steroids & Other Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
- Bronchodilators: Airway Openers
- Asthma Nebulizer (Breathing Machine)
- Prednisone and Asthma: Stopping an Asthma Attack
- Bronchial Thermoplasty for Asthma
- Self-Care Strategies for Asthma
- Using a Peak Flow Meter
- Air Filters and Asthma
- Natural Asthma Remedies
- A Natural Asthma Cure?