The symptoms of asthma are typically caused once the airways are constricted and inflamed. The symptoms tend to vary from one individual to another and could be worsened by a respiratory condition such as a cold or flu. In some individuals, they can go on without any symptoms yet interrupted with asthma attacks that occur periodically. Some have asthma symptoms on a daily basis either at night or after exercise. Individuals who are suffering from asthma symptoms should consult their doctor so that an asthma screening and tests can be carried out.
Common symptoms of asthma
- Coughing – this is one of the most common symptoms of asthma. The cough can be wet or dry and tends to worsen at night or after exercise.
- Wheezing – it is a whistling sound that typically occurs when exhaling. This is caused by the air that is forced through the narrow air passages. Take note that this is the most distinguishable symptom of the condition, but wheezing does not necessarily mean that a person has asthma since it is also a symptom of pneumonia and COPD.
- Difficulty breathing – due to the constricted and inflamed airways, the individual finds it hard to breathe. If mucus is present, it will make breathing even more difficult.
- Tightness of chest – once the muscles surrounding the airways constrict, the individual can experience tightness in the chest.
Other symptoms of asthma
There are also some symptoms that are less common. Take note that they are usually triggered by the common symptoms or can also occur independently.
- Nasal flaring – it is the enlargement of the nostrils when breathing which indicates breathing difficulty. It is quite common in young children and infants.
- Fatigue – due to the lack of oxygen flow to the lungs, there is less oxygen in your blood and muscles, thus resulting to fatigue. With the other symptoms that worsen at night, it can interfere with sleep and contribute to fatigue.
- Sighing – this is a natural physiological response that usually involves the lungs expanding in full capacity.
- Anxiety – it is both a symptom and a trigger for an asthma attack. Once the airways start to narrow, the chest tightens and breathing is difficult, thus generating anxiety. Due to the unpredictable nature of an asthma attack, it can also be a source of anxiety.
Emergency symptoms of asthma
The symptoms of asthma can interfere with daily life but most are more of an annoyance than a threat. Nevertheless, if the symptoms are severe, it is already considered as a life-threatening emergency that should be taken seriously. If the following symptoms are present, it is important to seek emergency assistance right away:
- Discoloration of face, lips and nails
- Difficulty walking or talking
- Extreme difficulty in breathing
- Extreme anxiety caused by difficulty in breathing
- Mental confusion
- Rapid pulse
- Chest pain
As part of any first aid course, it includes the appropriate measures to perform in case an individual experiences an asthma attack. If a family member has asthma, it is best to enroll in any first aid course in your area.