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10 Common Symptoms of Asthma


Asthma is when the airways in your lungs inflame, constrict, and produce mucus – making it hard for you to breathe. Your airways are what let air come in and go out of your lungs. You suffer from an asthma attack if your lungs receive less air.

Asthma is a chronic condition that is very common, with more than 3 million cases diagnosed each year in the United States. Asthma can be minor and managed with medications and inhalers. Or, it can become severe and cause life-threatening attacks.


Symptom 1: Wheezing

Do you make a wheezing or whistling sound when inhaling or exhaling?

Asthma can cause you to wheeze because your airways become inflamed and narrow. There are medications you can take to help manage your wheezing.

Symptom 2: Shortness of Breath

Do you have difficulty breathing, especially at night? Do you wheeze? Breathe through your mouth? Have fast or rapid breathing?

If you feel breathless, it may be because asthma makes it difficult to move air in and out of your airways. Your doctor may prescribe an asthma inhaler that provides more medicine to your lungs. 

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Symptom 3: Chest Pain

Pain in your chest? Do you have tightness, feels like a rubber band? Unable to breathe deeply?

Asthma causes chest pain, tightness, and pressure due to the narrowing and swelling of your airways.

Symptom 4: Trouble Sleeping

Do you have trouble sleeping due to coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath? Asthma symptoms seem to intensify in the evening, often making it difficult for you to get restful sleep.

During the late hours of the evening and early hours of the morning, your hormone levels that fight off asthma symptoms are at their lowest. Although sleep problems associated with asthma are common, they can be dangerous.

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Symptom 5: Cough

Do you often cough at night, early in the morning, or while exercising? With asthma, a chronic, dry cough with or without phlegm can be mild or severe. Coughing an intensify when exposed to allergens or due to a respiratory infection.

According to a Health.com article, “Laura Finlayson, 38, from Westwood, N.J., just couldn’t seem to shake her persistent cough. It lingered for months and was so violent that she ended up in the emergency room with bruised ribs. Then she found out it was asthma, most likely triggered by a bout of pneumonia. She decided to take matters into her own hands. She started training to become a runner, lost 25 pounds, strengthened her lung function, and now has her symptoms almost completely under control. She has plans to run her second half-marathon—just 10 months after being diagnosed with asthma.”

Symptom 6: Respiratory Infections

Unfortunately, asthma can cause you to get frequent respiratory infections, such as a sinus infection, cold, or the flu – making your asthma symptoms even worse or cause an asthma attack.

According to Asthma.net, “Nearly 80% of asthma attacks in children and adults are related to a viral infection.”

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Symptom 7: Anxiety

Asthma is like a panic attack, the more anxiety you have, the worse the symptoms become. Anxiety can trigger the release of chemicals that narrow your airways.

According to Peter Gergen, a senior medical officer at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “During periods of stress and anxiety, asthma attacks occur more frequently, and asthma control is more difficult.”

Symptom 8: Throat Irritation

Is your throat itchy? Sore? Scratchy? Do you have a tickle in your throat?

According to The Asthma Center, if you have asthma, you may experience issues like “chronic postnasal drip, throat clearing, persistent sore throat, bad breath, hoarseness and other vocal disturbances (like) snoring issues or difficulty swallowing…” 

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Symptom 9: Fast Heart Rate

Does your heart flutter or pound? Even when you are just sitting on the sofa?

Asthma can cause a lower amount of oxygen in your blood stream, making you have a faster heart rate – at least more than 110 beats per minute.

Symptom 10: Constricted Airway

With asthma, what it all comes down to is if you have airways that are inflamed and constricted – tightening surrounding muscles.

Such constriction makes way for various asthmatic symptoms.

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