Asthma Symptoms and Signs

Asthma: A chronic respiratory disease, often arising from allergies, that is characterized by sudden recurring attacks of labored breathing, chest constriction, and coughing.

The symptoms of asthma range from very mild pre-attack indicators to very serious symptoms that can result in the death of a patient if they are not treated immediately.

In reviewing the symptoms of asthma patients, it is important to understand that some patients may experience symptom-free period of asthma remission and not every patient will experience the same sets of symptoms at the same intensity or frequency. Also important is the fact that every asthma attack is different for every patient.  An asthmatic may experience some of the symptoms during one attack and a completely different combination in another. 

Thus, it is recommended that all asthma patients and their caregivers familiarize themselves with the various symptoms and the long-term effects that may result from non-treatment or mistreatment.

Primary Symptoms List:


Wheezing is the most common symptom associated with asthma.  It is characterized by a squeaking or whistling as the affect person exhales.


Asthma patients tend to cough primarily at night, when lying down.  Recurrent asthmatic coughing may cause sleep interruptions than can lead to additional health problems.

Breathing Changes

Faster than normal breathing and noisy sounds made while breathing are characteristic symptoms of asthma.



What the Asthmatic Feels:

Again, it is important to realize that an asthma patient may or may not experience all of the following symptoms.  There may be additional symptoms not included on the list below.

Tightening in the Chest

Asthma sufferers often describe feeling, during asthma attach, as though someone is compressing their chest.

Difficult Breathing

As a result of constricting air passages, patients often complain of labored breathing and exhibit symptoms thereof.

Sensitivity to Hot or Cold Air

It is not uncommon for an asthmatic to experience increased symptoms when exposed to periods of intense heat or intense cold. Some people are sensitive to one or the other, but many patients become uncomfortable in both extreme conditions.

Increased Cold Symptoms

Because asthma attacks are sometimes triggered by the increased presence of histamine during a cold or other upper respiratory illness, some sufferers complain of cold symptoms that are exacerbated by the increased asthma symptoms they are experiencing.

What is happening in the Body?

The biological processes associated with asthma are complicated. This chart will enable the patient to get some insight into the processes occurring that are causing their symptoms.

Hyper-Responsiveness to Irritants

Because the air passages of asthmatic patients are more sensitive to irritants than those of non-asthmatics, there tends to be a faster occurrence of responses to inhaled and environmental irritants.

Air Passage Constriction

Airways tend to become constricted and blocked quickly and without warnings. Peak flow measurements tend to vary in readings above 20% when this begins to occur.

Increased Reaction to Allergens

Asthma patients tend to develop more allergies than non-asthmatics.

Overview … What are the Symptoms of Asthma?

  • Asthma sufferers often describe feeling, during asthma attack, as though someone is compressing their chest.
  • Approximately 8% of the adult population and 13% of the child population suffer from the ongoing effects of asthma.
  • There is currently no cure available for asthma, however new discoveries in the medical research field are increasing the medications and techniques used to monitor and treat asthma in patients with the disease.

Asthma signs and symptoms - In Conclusion

Symptoms of asthma vary in type and intensity, and therefore it important for the patient or caregiver to pay attention when any of the symptoms above begin to appear or especially if they worsen.

One of the most important things that an asthma patient can do to increase the manageability of their condition is to learn to recognize and react to early-warning symptoms, much like a heart attack or stroke victim would need to do.

With all of the medical advances and discoveries of the last century, most asthma patients have the ability to lessen or eliminate their symptoms completely by working with a physician to find the right treatment combination for their individual case.

Asthma Guide


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