When you have asthma, understanding common asthma symptoms can potentially help you identify exactly what your triggers are and when you have an emergency. Additionally, it is also important to learn what’s happening or changing in your airways.

In this article, we will discuss about the major asthma symptoms to look out for along with some preventive measures that you can take to reduce your risk of getting an asthma attack.

What is asthma?

Asthma, also known as bronchial asthma, is a condition that affects your lungs. It is a chronic disease in which your airways swell and become narrow, and produce extra mucus, thereby leading to difficulty in breathing, prolonged coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing sound while breathing.

While for some people, asthma is a mild problem, for others, it is a severe health condition that affects everyday activities and leads to a life-threatening asthma attack. When you have asthma, there are three changes that take place in your airways. This includes:

  • swelling on the inside part of the airways
  • formation of excessive mucus clogging the airways, leading to difficulty in breathing
  • tightening and squeezing of the muscles around the airways

An important thing to note here is that asthma can’t be treated completely, but it's symptoms can easily be controlled and looked out for.

Major asthma symptoms to be aware of

Asthma symptoms may vary from one individual to another. While some people may experience symptoms all the time, others may have infrequent symptoms, or only at particular times, such as while cycling or exercising.

Some common asthma symptoms include:

  • chest pain and tightness
  • difficulty in breathing
  • shortness of breath
  • insomnia, caused by coughing or shortness of breath
  • wheezing
  • coughing attacks worsened by flu or cold
Chest pain is a common symptom of asthma. (Photo via Pexels/freestocks.org)
Chest pain is a common symptom of asthma. (Photo via Pexels/freestocks.org)

Not every asthma patient will experience the above-mentioned symptoms. And because infections and allergies change over time, it is important that you consult a healthcare provider to track your asthma symptoms and modify the medication and treatments as needed.

Apart from these symptoms, there are also different signs that show that your asthma is worsening. Some major signs are:

  • asthma symptoms that become more challenging and frequent
  • increased wheezing, coughing, and difficulty in breathing
  • frequent use of an inhaler

Preventive measures to take

Since there is no exact cause of asthma, it is quite difficult to know how to prevent this inflammatory disease. But there are certain things you can do to manage the symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. These include:

Avoid contact with asthma allergens and triggers: Stay away from smells, products, and chemicals that have earlier caused breathing problems or coughing.

Get vaccinations: Respiratory problems such as flu and cold can worsen your asthma. So, it is important to get vaccinated at the right time to keep your lungs healthy and away from illnesses.

Take your medications in a timely manner: If your healthcare provider has prescribed medications to manage your asthma symptoms, take them as directed and do not stop the medication without consulting your doctor.

Limit your exposure to allergens: If you know that mold or dust can trigger your asthma, avoid them completely.

Get allergy shots: Take allergy shots as recommended by doctors to protect and keep your body away from asthmatic triggers. With routine allergy shots, your body will become less vulnerable to triggers.

Take medicines as prescribed by the doctor. (Photo via Pexels/JESHOOTS.com)
Take medicines as prescribed by the doctor. (Photo via Pexels/JESHOOTS.com)

Always be in contact with your doctor as he/she can help you determine the right treatment and preventive measures depending on your health condition.

In addition to the preventive measures discussed above, there are other steps you can take each day to control and manage your asthma. These include eating a nutritious diet, avoiding alcohol and smoking, exercising regularly, avoiding stress, and managing your weight.

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