Asthma Signs and Symptoms
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that makes airways (bronchial tubes) particularly sensitive to irritants, and this is characterized by difficulty in breathing.
Asthma signs and symptoms include:
Ø Coughing. Coughing in people with asthma is often worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard for them to sleep.
Ø Wheezing. Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe.
Ø A tight feeling in the chest. This can feel like someone is squeezing or sitting on your chest.
Ø Shortness of breath. Asthma sufferers often say they can't catch their breath, or they feel breathless or out of breath. They feel like you can't get enough air in or out of their lungs.
Ø Episodes of wheezy difficulty in breathing.
Ø Faster breathing or noisy breathing.
Ø Narrowing of the air passages in the lungs and hence increased resistance to airflow.
Ø Rapid and considerable changes in airway obstruction (peak flow variation >= 20%)
Ø Frequent nocturnal episodes and low morning peak flow values
Ø Significant reversibility with drugs which resemble adrenaline, the beta2 agonists
Ø Significant reversibility with steroid drugs
Ø Symptom-free periods
Ø Frequent occurrence of allergy
Ø Inflammation of the air passages, characterised by eosinophils in the airway wall
Ø Bronchial hyper-responsiveness to non-specific stimuli such as cold air or histamine.
People with asthma may have:
Ø Wheezing when they have a cold or other illness
Ø Frequent coughing, especially at night (sometimes this is the only sign of asthma in a child)
Ø Asthma symptoms brought on by exercises such as running, biking, or other brisk activity, especially during cold weather
Ø Coughing or wheezing brought on by prolonged crying or laughing
Ø Coughing or wheezing when they are near an allergen or irritant
Not all people have these symptoms, and signs and symptoms may vary from one asthma attack to another.
Asthma symptoms can also differ in how severe they are. For example, sometimes symptoms can be mildly annoying and at other times they can be serious enough to make you stop what you are doing, and sometimes symptoms can be so serious that they are life threatening and you need to get medical attention.
Symptoms also differ in how often they occur. Some people with asthma only have symptoms once every few months, others have symptoms every week, and still other people have symptoms every day.
With proper treatment and management, however, most people with asthma can expect to have minimal or no symptoms, and can lead active, normal lives.
At a Glance … Asthma Symptoms
Ø Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that makes airways (bronchial tubes) particularly sensitive to irritants, and this is characterized by difficulty in breathing.
Ø The main symptoms of asthma include coughing, especially at night, wheezing, a tight feeling in the chest, and shortness of breath.
Ø The symptoms may vary from person to person, and they may also vary in severity and how often they occur.
Ø With proper treatment and management, most people with lead active, normal lives.
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