How can I tell if I have asthma?
Asthma symptoms are wide and varying. These symptoms don't appear suddenly or abruptly. Asthma symptoms generally appear quietly in a time frame that extends from a few hours to a few days. It's important to remember asthma sufferers experience varying degrees of severity. One person could experience all of the symptoms, while another experiences every single symptom at the same time.
Common symptoms of asthma
Asthma symptoms range from occasional to daily flares. Asthma is characterized by no symptoms at all between flares. The asthma sufferer experiences no trouble breathing or wheezing.
Common symptoms of asthma include:
- Chest pain or tightness. There may be no symptoms to lead up to this pain and can be an early warning sign of a heart attack. About three-fourths of all asthma patients experience chest pains (1).
- Coughing. This is usually the first symptom of asthma. This type of coughing doesn't mean anything bad is going on, but it can be so aggravating. If given the choice, some asthma sufferers may actually choose wheezing or sleep interruptions over coughing.
- Disturbed sleeping patterns. Needed sleep can be disturbed with coughing, shortness of breath, or wheezing.
- Exercise interruptions. Exercise regimens can be halted with expected coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath.
- Neck muscles may become so tight that talking becomes impossible or difficult.
- Rapid breathing. Breathlessness makes an asthma sufferer breathe faster in order to get the air in and out of his lungs
- Rapid heart rate is another symptom that most asthma sufferers experience.
- Shortness of breath. This can be very scary for sufferers. Dyspnea, shortness of breath, can become life-threatening.
- Sweating. Excessive sweating can be a very inconvenient symptom of asthma.
- Wheezing. When a sufferer experiences wheezing, he has trouble breathing out. Rapid breathing accompanies wheezing often. Wheezing is often a hissing or whistling sound.
Severe symptoms of asthma
If an asthma sufferer experiences any of these severe symptoms, his rescue medication inhaler should be immediately retrieved and 911 should be called.
- Severe symptoms of asthma include:
- Blue lips or nails.
- Blue rescue inhaler doesn't provide relief or help.
- Breath can't be caught and becomes a struggle.
- Gray color appears on the fingernails or lips.
- Nostrils flare out.
- Peak flow falls 50% of your best (2).
- Skin becomes sucked in between the breastbone and ribs.
- Speaking is difficult and a sentence can't be completed.
- Walking is impossible.
How can asthma be addressed?
Learn how to recognize what triggers your asthma. Learn everything you can about asthma, its symptoms, its causes, and its treatments. Don't assume you can't live a near-normal life with asthma. People do it every day, and so can you.
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