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How To Know If You Have Asthma

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How do I know if I have asthma?

The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical;research;agency that makes important scientific discovery to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including asthma. Learn about the current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.

What Are The Asthma Signs And Symptoms

Signs of an asthma attack include:

Mild or moderate

  • Minor difficulty breathing with short, shallow, rapid breaths
  • Chest retractions
  • A whistling sound when you breathe, especially out
  • Able to talk in full sentences
  • May experience a dry cough that wont go away

Mild anxiety attacks may last only a few minutes. These attacks can resolve spontaneously or may require medication, typically an asthma inhaler.

What to do: Start asthma first aid

Severe

Severe asthma symptoms need medical care right away.

  • Feeling panicky
  • Cannot speak a full sentence in one breath
  • Having trouble talking or walking
  • Getting tight neck and chest muscles

A severe episode can last from hours to days.

What to do: Call an ambulance and start asthma first aid

Life-threatening

  • Turning blue with cyanosis
  • Collapse
  • Ribs or stomach moving in and out deeply and swiftly
  • An expanded chest that does not deflate when you exhale
  • Not responding to reliever medication

What to do: Call an ambulance and start asthma first aid

How long your asthma attack lasts can vary, depending on the cause and inflammation in the airways.

How To Know If You Have Asthma Signs And Symptoms

Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person. Thats what makes learning how to know if you have asthma very difficult. People with asthma can have infrequent attacks and have symptoms only at certain times, such as exercise or under a lot of stress.;

How to know if you have asthma? Below are some signs and symptoms:;

  • Persistent coughing: Can occur at any time, but mostly early in the morning or late at night. This is probably the most common and significant symptom of asthma.;
  • Chest tightness: This is a sensation in which you feel like something is pressing down on your chest, making it difficult for you to breathe.;
  • Wheezing: Having difficulty breathing along with a whistling sound coming from your airway or throat.
  • More mucus: The amount of thick phlegm or fluid that builds up in your airways becomes intensely increased when you have asthma.;
  • Lack of sleep: You wont be able to have a good nights sleep due to breathing problems; they are likely to keep you awake at night.;
  • Shortness of breath: This is an unpleasant feeling when you cannot get enough air into your lungs. You can even find it difficult when eating, drinking, or speaking.

Signs that indicate that your asthma condition is worsening:

Recommended Reading: How To Deal With Asthma Without Inhaler

How Will The Doctor Determine Which Type Of Asthma I Have

In general, a doctor will establish your type of asthma by:

  • Examining your medical history, including your family history
  • Performing a physical examination to inspect your upper airway for signs of allergic rhinitis, check your chest for deformity, or determine the presence of polyps
  • Measuring the amount of air you can breathe in and out of your lungs with a spirometry or lung function test
  • Determining the age of onset
  • Discovering the types of cells involved in inflammation
  • Looking at the results of allergy tests
  • Examining the characteristics of your lung and tissue
  • Observing your responses to past medications

Signs Of Asthma Absolutely Everyone Should Know

How to Know if You Have Asthma (with Pictures)

    You might think you know the signs of asthma because hey, it seems like one of those health conditions that is absolutely unmistakable. Its kind of obvious if you justcant really breathe, right? Sure, but asthma symptoms can present with a lot more complexity and subtlety than that. Many people do not realize they have asthma and deal with daily symptoms, Purvi Parikh, M.D., an allergist and immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network, tells SELF. Because of that, you should be aware of the signs of asthma so you dont write them off for months or even years without realizing you have this persistentand ultimately treatablehealth condition.

    Read Also: How To Strengthen Asthmatic Lungs

    When To See A Doctor Or Go To The Hospital

    If you haven’t yet been diagnosed with asthma, see your doctor if you have frequent wheezing or coughing that lasts for more than a few days.

    If you are diagnosed with asthma, you will then work on keeping your condition under control and monitoring your condition to see if it is getting worse rather than better. When asthma is not well controlled, you can likely expect to experience one or more of the following:

    • You become more aware of your wheezing.
    • You develop a cough that won’t go away.
    • You cough more at night or in cold weather.
    • You cough or wheeze with physical activity.
    • You get less relief from quick-relief medications.
    • You have more trouble falling asleep or getting a good night’s rest.
    • You get easily tired of tasks you can normally complete.
    • Your allergy symptoms worsen.
    • You are less able to identify when an attack is about to begin.
    • You have a downturn in your peak expiratory flow rate .

    If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor to determine whether there have been significant changes in your respiratory health. Spirometry and other tests may be used to evaluate the extent of these changes and what, if any, revisions to your treatment plan need to be made.

    Go to the emergency room if any of the following occur:

    Symptoms Of Asthma Emergencies In Children

    The signs of an asthma emergency include when the child:;

    • finds it very difficult to breathe or is not breathing;
    • is unable to speak comfortably or;complete sentences without losing breath;
    • has;lips turn blue;
    • has symptoms that get worse very quickly;
    • has tugging in of the skin between ribs or at the base of the neck;
    • is getting little or no relief from their reliever inhaler, or their reliever inhaler is not available.;

    Read Also: What Does A Nebulizer Do For Asthma

    Can You Have Asthma For Years And Not Know It

    But, one in every 200 U.S. adults is diagnosed every year with asthma, a condition called adult-onset asthma, the researchers said. A lot of people have asthma and dont know it. Many adults do not have the traditional asthma symptoms, or they dont have all of the symptoms, said Dr. David Beuther.

    Asthma Emergencies In Children

    Asthma Diagnosis – Asthma Testing – How do I know if I have asthma

    Symptoms of an asthma attack can worsen and develop into an;asthma emergency. To prepare for an asthma emergency, make sure your childs doctor has written an;asthma;action;plan;for your child.;

    Have a copy of your childs;asthma;action;plan pinned up somewhere easy to access at home, and send a copy to anyone who cares for your child, including their school, kinder, childcare service, family members and friends. You may like to take a photo of their;asthma;action;plan so you always have a copy with you.;

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    Question : Do Your Symptoms Get Worse When You Go Out In The Garden Or Are Near Pets

    You answered yes.

    You answered no.

    • A worsening of asthma symptoms is known as an asthma exacerbation, or more commonly, as an asthma attack. These are induced by triggers; stimulus that cause increased severity of symptoms.
    • Triggers are often something airborne that inflame the bronchi when they come into contact with them.
    • Common triggers include allergens such as pollen, pet hair, or dust, but an asthma attack can also be triggered by non-allergic reactions, such as to cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, certain foods or medicines, or an abrupt change in the weather.
    • An attack can even be brought on by stress; a number of changes in the body take place when were under pressure, which can lead to increased chest tightness and heavy breathing.
    • The body also releases chemicals in periods of stress, such as leukotrienes and histamines, which can cause inflammation of the airways.

    Question : Do You Make A Wheezing Sound When You Breathe Out

    You answered no.

    • Asthma is caused by an irritation of the airways, medically known as the bronchi.
    • When they become inflamed, the walls of the bronchi swell and tighten, causing them to narrow.
    • They may become coated with mucus, obstructing them further.
    • This causes a whistling sound when trying to expel the used air.

    Recommended Reading: Asthma Remedies Without Inhaler

    Can You Get Sick With Covid

    Yes, people can still catch the virus after getting vaccinated. CDC is calling these vaccine breakthrough cases. However, most people who do get COVID-19 post-vaccination develop mild symptoms and are less likely to get hospitalized or die from the virus.

    Remember, no vaccine is 100% effective. In clinical trials, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was shown to be 95% effective in preventing symptomatic illness. The Moderna vaccine was shown to be 94.5% effective in preventing symptomatic illness. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19, and 85% effective in preventing severe or critical disease.

    What Are Common Asthma Attack Triggers

    How to Know if You Have Asthma (with Pictures)

    An asthma attack happens when someone comes in contact with substances that irritate them. Healthcare providers call these substances triggers. Knowing what triggers your asthma makes it easier to avoid asthma attacks.

    For some people, a trigger can bring on an attack right away. Sometimes, an attack may start hours or days later.

    Triggers can be different for each person. But some common triggers include:

    • Air pollution: Many things outside can cause an asthma attack. Air pollution includes factory emissions, car exhaust, wildfire smoke and more.
    • Dust mites: You cant see these bugs, but they are in many homes. If you have a dust mite allergy, they can cause an asthma attack.
    • Exercise: For some people, exercising can cause an attack.
    • Mold: Damp places can spawn mold. It can cause problems for people with asthma. You dont even have to be allergic to mold to have an attack.
    • Pests: Cockroaches, mice and other household pests can cause asthma attacks.
    • Pets: Your pets can cause asthma attacks. If youre allergic to pet dander , breathing in the dander can irritate your airways.
    • Tobacco smoke: If you or someone in your home smokes, you have a higher risk of developing asthma. The best solution is to quit smoking.
    • Strong chemicals or smells.

    With asthma, you may not have all of these symptoms. You may have different signs at different times. And symptoms can change between asthma attacks.

    Read Also: What To Do When Having An Asthma Attack

    Advice For Friends And Family

    Itâs important that your friends and family know how to help in an emergency.

    It can be useful to make copies of your personal asthma action plan and share it with others who may need to know what to do when you have an attack.

    You can photocopy your existing plan, or you could download a blank personal asthma action plan from Asthma UK and fill it in for anyone who might need a copy.

    Or you could take a photo of your action plan on your phone, so you can show or send it to others easily.

    Page last reviewed: 19 April 2021 Next review due: 19 April 2024

    Medical History And Physical Exam

    Your doctor will ask about your risk factors for asthma and your symptoms. They may ask also about any known allergies. This includes how often symptoms occur, what seems to trigger your symptoms, when or where symptoms occur, and if your symptoms wake you up at night.

    During the physical exam, your doctor may:

    • Listen to your breathing and look for symptoms of asthma
    • Look for allergic skin conditions, such as eczema

    Also Check: What Helps Asthma Without An Inhaler

    How Does Exercise Trigger Asthma Symptoms

    Doctors think they know why some peopleâs asthma is made worse by exercise .Normally, people breathe through their nose. Your nose acts as an air filter. It controls the temperature and humidity of the air before it reaches your lungs.When you exercise, your body wants more air. ;Your breathing speeds up to get more air. You start breathing through your mouth, so you can gulp down more air. But air that comes through your mouth has not been filtered, warmed, or humidified by your nose. This means the air that gets to your airways is cooler and drier than usual.If you have asthma, your extra-sensitive airways donât like cool dry air. Your airways react: the muscles around the airways twitch and squeeze tighter. Tighter airways mean there is less space for the air to pass through. This makes you wheeze, cough, and feel short of breath.

    What Asthma Treatment Options Are There

    How do I know if I have asthma?

    You have options to help manage your asthma. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications to control symptoms. These include:

    • Anti-inflammatory medicines: These medicines reduce swelling and mucus production in your airways. They make it easier for air to enter and exit your lungs. Your healthcare provider may prescribe them to take every day to control or prevent your symptoms.
    • Bronchodilators: These medicines relax the muscles around your airways. The relaxed muscles let the airways move air. They also let mucus move more easily through the airways. These medicines relieve your symptoms when they happen.
    • Biologic therapies for asthma when symptoms persist despite being on proper inhaler therapy.

    You can take asthma medicines in several different ways. You may breathe in the medicines using a metered-dose inhaler, nebulizer or other inhaler. Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral medications that you swallow.

    Also Check: Do Chihuahuas Help With Allergies

    The Basics Of Diagnosing Asthma

    Your doctor will probably start your examination by delving into your past medical history and asking whether any of your relatives have allergies or asthma. You’ll also be asked to describe your symptoms, their severity, and what, if anything, is;triggering;them.

    Triggers could include cold air, dust, hairsprays, perfumes, household cleaner vapors, cigarette or cigar smoke, and air pollution, Asciuto says.

    Doctors also try to narrow down the list of culprits by asking these additional questions:

    Next, your doctor will listen to your breathing with a stethoscope and may order one or more of these diagnostic tests:

    Its also important to note that you can have asthma without experiencing any of the hallmark;symptoms. There’s no single patient profile for asthma, says Dr. Fineman. “Some will have more coughing, some more wheezing, and some have more problems breathing with exercise, he says.

    What To Do If Your Asthma Is Poorly Controlled

    If your asthma is poorly controlled you need to speak with your healthcare provider. Uncontrolled asthma is very serious and could lead to a life-threatening asthma attack. Its vital that you take your asthma seriously and recognize when your symptoms arent properly controlled. Over time, poorly controlled asthma can cause permanent damage to your airways that cannot be reversed. This is called airway remodeling. It is important to have proper treatment for your asthma to avoid this permanent damage.

    If your asthma is not well controlled, talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms. You can gain control of your asthma by:

    • Taking your controller medication as prescribed to minimize symptoms and reduce inflammation in the airways
    • Avoiding your personal asthma triggers as much as possible
    • Carrying your reliever medication with you at all times;
    • Working with your healthcare provider to create an Asthma Action Plan and following it
    • Discussing your asthma with your healthcare provider on a regular basis so that your asthma never becomes uncontrolled and your treatments can be adjusted if necessary.

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    Contact Doctor During Office Hours

    • Don’t have written asthma action plan from your doctor
    • Use an inhaler, but don’t have a spacer
    • Miss more than 1 day of school per month for asthma
    • Asthma limits exercise or sports
    • Asthma attacks wake child up from sleep
    • Use more than 1 inhaler per month
    • No asthma check-up in more than 1 year
    • You have other questions or concerns

    Know The Asthma Symptoms In Children

    Asthma Symptoms

    Asthma affects as many as 10% to 12% of children in the United States and is the leading cause of chronic illness in children. For unknown reasons, the incidence of asthma in children is steadily increasing. While asthma symptoms can begin at any age, most children have their first asthma symptoms by age 5.

    Not all children with asthma wheeze. Chronic coughing with asthma may be the only obvious sign, and a childâs asthma may go unrecognized if the cough is attributed to recurrent bronchitis.

    For more detail, see WebMDâs Asthma in Children.

    Read Also: Nsaid Induced Asthma

    Side Effects Of Asthma Medication

    If you are worried about possible side effects from asthma medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop or reduce doses of medication for your child without speaking with your doctor.;Common side effects from inhaled asthma medication:;

    Preventers

    • sore mouth and throat;
    • fungal throat infections.;

    Using a spacer reduces the risk of these side effects. as does rinsing the mouth with water after using an inhaler.;

    Relievers

    • fast;heart beat.;

    Preparing For Your Gp Appointment

    A little bit of preparation can help you to get the most of your first GP appointment. It may even speed up the process so you can get diagnosed more quickly.

    Have answers at the ready;

    Think about your family history.

    • Does anyone in your family have asthma?
    • Does anyone in your family have allergies?
    • Do you have any allergies, including eczema or hay fever?

    Your answers to these questions could help your GP work out if asthma is more likely.

    Keep a diary of your symptoms;

    Note down how often and when you have symptoms. For example, are your symptoms worse at night, early in the morning, or when youre at work?

    You could also make a note of what you think sets them off. Things that set off your asthma symptoms are called triggers. Common asthma triggers include dust mites, cigarette smoke, and exercise.

    Keeping a diary or a chart of your symptoms and triggers can help your GP or asthma nurse see the pattern of your symptoms. Seeing how your symptoms are over time helps your GP to know if asthma is more likely.

    Film symptoms on your phone;

    Asthma can come and go, so you could have no symptoms when you go and see your GP.

    Try filming yourself on your phone – or ask someone else to when youre having symptoms. Then you can show the GP or asthma nurse exactly what it was like, without having to try and describe it with words.

    But dont delay getting help if symptoms are getting worse though!

    Jot down your questions

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