Asthma is the inflammation of the airway of the lungs that causes you to have difficulty in breathing and gives you intense feelings of shortness of breath. Asthma is caused by genetic and environmental factors and almost anything could cause an asthma attack. These causes are called triggers and the most common triggers are pollen, dust, mold, change in weathers, allergens in the air, irritants such as cigarette smoke or even some medicines. Asthma is much more difficult to manage if it is accompanied by other health conditions such as a runny nose, sinus infection, psychological stress or sleep apnea. The experience of Asthma is different for every person and you have to track what triggers your asthma the most in order to control it.
The symptoms of Asthma are many and there are a few that you just cannot miss.
1. Uncontrollable coughing: If you find yourself unable to control that cough making it difficult to function, you have a case of Asthma. The cough may be continuous making it extremely hard to sleep. Likewise, it is noticed that the coughing can be worse during early morning or late at night. The cough accompanied by congestion can also feel painful while being extremely difficult to control.
2. Shortness of Breath: You may feel like you cannot breathe or catch your breath. This difficulty in breathing is caused by chronic inflammation of the airway. Almost anything can cause this inflammation, and the first step to preventing an asthma attack is to identify the trigger.
3. Tightening of the chest: A sense of tightening of the chest may also be felt during an asthma attack that could make one feel extremely uncomfortable. This chest tightening can occur during an attack along with coughing or shortness of breath. The chest tightening feels like something may be squeezing your lungs and not allowing you to breathe.
4. A whistling sound while breathing: Have you ever heard a whistling sound when you’re breathing heavily? This is called wheezing. Wheezing is often musical or sounds like a hissing sound when you breathe. But, not everyone who wheezes is asthmatic. Wheezing often occurs during exhalation but sometimes it may occur while inhaling air as well.
You may also feel congested or have a blocked nose during asthma.
This blockage or congestion of the chest might result in you not being able to speak.
While not all people with asthma have these symptoms, likewise, just because you have these symptoms it does not mean that you might have asthma.
The severity of the symptoms mentioned above may also be classified as –
Mild intermittent – Having an attack or some of the above-mentioned symptoms no more than two times in a week. These would not last for more than a few hours and the severity may vary but you are mostly normal between these attacks.
Mild Persistent – Any attack more than twice a week is mild persistent. It is important to understand that these attacks would not occur daily but would occur at night. These attacks may be severe in order to interrupt the regular functioning of a person.
Moderate persistent – If you have an asthma attack almost every day and in the night, your symptoms are moderate persistent. The severity of these attacks could last for two days and often disrupt daily regular activities. These attacks require the use of quick-relief medication.
Severe persistent –The symptoms are severe under these attacks and often regular. It disrupts daily normal life and you need to see a doctor asap.
During a severe attack sometimes your skin may appear sucked in near the rib cage and there may be extreme tightness in the muscles accompanied by breathlessness and difficulty in talking. It is also important to understand that these aren’t the only symptoms of asthma.
Asthma attacks can be prevented if you can pinpoint the causes of the triggers. It is essential to seek medical treatment or get the symptoms checked by a doctor in order to devise a plan to tackle the problem. If children suffer from asthma, a plan of action is necessary and it needs to be in place to prevent the attack from getting complicated.
If an inhaler has been prescribed, be sure to carry it wherever you go. Keeping extra inhalers at hand or in convenient places will also be useful. If you face severe shortness of breath making it extremely difficult to breathe, seeking medical emergency help may be required.