Asthma Symptoms

Asthma symptoms are different for each person and can change in every asthma episode. Some asthma symptoms are mild and may not be very noticeable. While other asthma attacks can be very uncomfortable and serious enough to be life threatening.

It is important to recognize the symptoms of asthma. By knowing the early symptoms of asthma can help you get treatment early and prevent the onset of severe asthma attack.

Early Warning Signs of Asthma

You may experience a number of early warning signs before the start of an asthma episode. By recognizing these clues that occur before actual asthma symptoms, early treatment can be started. These signs can be different from person to person. Some early warning signs may be experienced only by the individual, while other early warning signs are more likely to be experienced by other persons. These early warning signs include:

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Sneezing
  • Changes in breathing
  • Tiredness with activities that you normally could complete easily
  • Decreases in your peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR)
  • Restless sleep or waking up tired
  • Worsening allergy symptoms like persistent runny nose, dark circles under your eyes or itchy, inflamed skin

Asthma Episode Symptoms

As asthma worsens, the airways narrow, become inflamed, and fill with mucus. Patients with asthma may experience some or all of these symptoms during an asthma episode, and action should be taken to treat these symptoms before they become more severe. Symptoms of asthma episode may include:

  • Wheezing
  • Chronic coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Peak flow numbers in the caution or danger range (usually 50% to 80% of personal best)

Severe Asthma Symptoms

Severe asthma symptoms are a life-threatening emergency. If any of these severe asthma symptoms occur, seek medical treatment immediately as these symptoms can pose a significant health risk to life. Some severe asthma symptoms include:

  • Severe wheezing while inhaling or exhaling
  • Fast breathing
  • Profuse sweating
  • Nasal flaring
  • Feeling of impending doom or panic
  • Decreased level of alertness, such as severe drowsiness or confusion
  • Lips or fingernails turning gray or blue
  • Peak flow numbers in the danger zone (usually below 50% of personal best)

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