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The symptoms of asthma vary greatly among people; and occasionally, attacks may vary, even for the exact same person. Your ability to recognize the early signs and symptoms which originally appear prior to an assault is critical if you would like to prevent an emergency room visit. When you notice these signs, you need to heed the advice of your health care provider and follow a professionally directed action plan.

Asthma attacks

Prior to a full-blown asthma attack, there are typically early signs and symptoms you should be able to readily recognize. Irritation of the nose and throat, thirst, and the increased need to urinate are all common symptoms that may occur prior to an asthma attack. Each individual has their own peculiar pattern of early symptoms and most often, these symptoms progress to a serious respiratory distress episode if not properly treated.

The classic signs of a genuine attack include coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Wheezing when exhaling is extremely common during an assault. Frequently the attack starts with wheezing and rapid breathing and, since respiratory airways constrict and tighten, all breathing muscles become visibly active.

Some individuals first experience this chest pain or stiffness. Chest pain occurs in about 75 percent of asthmatics; it can be extremely severe and its intensity is unrelated to the seriousness of the assault itself. The neck muscles may tense and talking may become difficult or even impossible.

The end of an attack can be marked by a cough that produces a thick, stringy mucus. Following an acute attack, inflammation can persist for a couple of days up to many weeks. This inflammation is most often left untreated as it’s usually symptomless. However, it is this asymptomatic inflammation that has to be treated so as to avoid long term respiratory damage or relapse.

Most popular symptoms


A recurring, annoying cough is often an indicator of asthma. This persistent cough usually occurs in the cool air, at night, or after exercise.

Chest pain

When oxygen is trapped in the airways because of inflammation, the surrounding membrane stretches, and causes pain. Advanced cases can often lead to complex situations involving conditions like emphysema.


This is the whistling sound sometimes heard when you breathe. It indicates airway narrowing and it might be present on inhalation or exhalation. (Please recognize that not all asthmatics wheeze and not all wheezing indicates an asthmatic condition.)


Feeling quite tired is very usual for asthmatics. It’s frequently the result of disrupted sleep patterns, diminished oxygen supply to the bloodstream and accessibility to the body cells, and the build up of muscle lactic acid that contributes to generalized muscle fatigue.

Tight chested feels

This feeling feels like a tight band across your torso – such as an elastic band or a heavy weight resting on your chest. Your ability to inhale is restricted and, in advanced scenarios, painful. Occasionally this tightness is exacerbated in chilly weather.

Shortness of breath (dyspnea)

Should you experience breathlessness after laughing or talking long sentences, you might have asthma. In rare cases, you might realize that you feel the need to inhale until you’ve finished breathing out.

Exercise induced breathlessness

If physical exertion (playing a game, walking up a flight of stairs, rapid physical exertion, etc.) makes you short of breath, then that might be a symptom of asthma.

Excessive mucus production

Gurgling or rattling during inhalation or exhalation and coughing up a great deal of white frothy mucus is normal in asthmatic individuals. Occasionally this mucous will be thick in consistency and yellow or green in colour.

Nasal Congestion and drainage

Nasal congestion and a runny nose are often accompanying features of asthma. Rhinitis (inflammation of the nasal passages) is often referred to as asthma of the nose.

Disturbed Sleep Patterns

An inability to sleep due to alcoholism or repeated waking during the night might be an asthma symptom. Other conditions also exhibit this condition, so this symptom alone shouldn’t be considered conclusive.

The Early Warning Signs

Even moderate asthmatics may have severe attacks and thus it’s important to recognize the early signs so you can take suitable action.

      • Your reliever (puffer) is not as powerful and you want to use it more often than every 3-4 hours.
      • The wheeze enhances or even disappears but there’s not any improvement in your ability to breathe.
      • You have real difficulty in speaking complete sentences without stopping to take a breath.
      • You begin to turn a blue to grey color, especially around the lips and fingertips. This is a condition called cyanosis and suggests that you’ve got insufficient oxygen levels in your blood glucose.
      • You become anxious to the point of being terrifying.
      • Thinking clearly becomes hard.
      • Every breath becomes increasingly tricky.


The best advice we can give you is, Never dismiss an asthma attack in the hope it will get better or go away. If problems persist, seek qualified medical care and follow a professionally guided recovery and treatment program.