Know The Early Symptoms Of Asthma
Early warning signs are changes that happen just before or at the very beginning of an asthma attack. These signs may start before the well-known symptoms of asthma and are the earliest signs that your asthma is worsening.
In general, these signs are not severe enough to stop you from going about your daily activities. But by recognizing these signs, you can stop an asthma attack or prevent one from getting worse. Early warning signs of an asthma attack include:
- Frequent cough, especially at night
- Losing your breath easily or shortness of breath
- Feeling very tired or weak when exercising
If you have these warning signs, adjust your medication, as described in your asthma action plan.
Signs And Symptoms Of Asthma
To establish a diagnosis of asthma, the clinician should determine that:
- Episodic symptoms of airflow obstruction or airway hyperresponsiveness are present.
- Airflow obstruction is at least partially reversible.
- Alternative diagnoses are excluded.
Recommended methods to establish the diagnosis are:
- Detailed medical history.
- Physical exam focusing on the upper respiratory tract, chest, and skin.
- Spirometry to demonstrate obstruction and assess reversibility, including in children 5 years of age or older. Reversibility is determined either by an increase in FEV1 of 12 percent from baseline or by an increase 10 percent of predicted FEV1 after inhalation of a short-acting bronchodilator.
Additional studies are not routinely necessary but may be useful when considering alternative diagnoses:
It is important to consider a diagnosis of asthma if certain elements of the clinical history are present they are not diagnostic by themselves but increase the probability of a diagnosis of asthma:
Spirometry is needed to establish a diagnosis of asthma.
Contact Doctor During Office Hours
- Dont have written asthma action plan from your doctor
- Use an inhaler, but dont 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
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Symptoms Of Cardiac Asthma
Cardiac asthma has some symptoms that can mimic those of bronchial asthma. The main symptoms and signs of cardiac asthma are:
- shortness of breath
- coughing up blood-tinged mucus
- symptoms worse at night.
The pattern of shortness of breath can help doctors determine which condition you have. People with bronchial asthma tend to experience shortness of breath early in the morning, whereas people with heart failure and cardiac asthma often find they wake up suddenly breathless a few hours after going to bed, and have to sit upright to catch their breath.
This is because in people with heart failure, lying down for prolonged periods will cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs leading to shortness of breath. If they sit up in bed for a while the symptoms may subside.
Both asthma and heart failure can make people short of breath when they exert themselves.
In asthma, symptoms are usually brought on by vigorous exercise and tend to be worse after the exercise than during it.
On the other hand, cardiac asthma tends to happen during less vigorous exertion someone with heart failure can find themselves short of breath and wheezing while climbing stairs, or in severe cases, while getting dressed.
People with heart failure also often have problems with swollen ankles that worsen during the course of the day. They may also feel very tired, put on weight and have to urinate frequently.
Intrinsic And Extrinsic Eosinophilic Disorders
Uncommon asthma masqueraders include tropical eosinophilia, Loefflers syndrome, hypereosinophilic syndrome and allergic angiitis. A detailed history and examination and appropriate laboratory investigations will usually reveal the appropriate underlying diagnosis.
Tropical pulmonary eosinophilia
This is a rare syndrome, characterized by a persistent or recurrent cough worse at night and is associated with generalized weakness, shortness of breath, weight loss, low grade fever, and splenomegaly. Wheezing may be an associated symptom. It is caused by Wuchereria bancrofti, a filarial infection, most frequently found in Asia. The diagnosis is established by a history of exposure, the presence of peripheral eosinophilia and increased titers of anti-filarial antibodies. Chest radiograph abnormalities include diffuse miliary lesions, cavitation or patchy consolidations and reticulonodular infiltrates. A good response to diethylcarbamazine, an inhibitor of arachidonic acid metabolism in microfilaria, is very supportive of the diagnosis .
Eosinophilic Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis
Loeffler syndrome is characterized by transient pulmonary infiltrates associated with dry cough, dyspnea, low grade fever, rales, wheezing and fleeting migratory eosinophilia in patients infected with helminth larvae such as Ascaris and Strongyloides This condition typically resolves spontaneously within 4 weeks .
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What Causes Asthmatic Bronchitis
Asthmatic bronchitis refers to the occurrence of acute bronchitis in conjunction with asthma . Acute bronchitis is a respiratory disease that causes inflammation in the bronchi, the passageways that move air into and out of the lungs. The inflammation results in respiratory congestion and shortness of breath. The most common cause of asthmatic bronchitis is an upper viral respiratory infection.
Treating A Tight Chest
Your doctor will conduct tests to determine the cause of your chest tightness. If the tests for a heart attack come back negative, your symptoms may be caused by anxiety.
You should discuss your symptoms with your doctor to determine when to seek immediate medical attention if you experience chest tightness again. It may be possible to link your chest tightness to other symptoms thatll help you identify anxiety versus a cardiac event.
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Surprising Signs Of Adult
This post is available in: Spanish
That persistent cough that keeps you up at night may stem from more than just a tickle in the back of your throat. It could be adult-onset asthma.
Many people experience a jolt of disbelief when they are diagnosed with asthma later in life, especially if they have never experienced symptoms before. Asthma? That condition that causes kids to wheeze?
It turns out adult-onset asthma is far more common than many people realize. Asthma is often considered a disease of children, so adults may be surprised when they are diagnosed with asthma, says pulmonologist Javier PÃÂ©rez-FernÃÂ¡ndez, M.D., the critical care director at Baptist Hospital of Miami.
The number of people with asthma grows every year. Currently, more than 26 million Americans have asthma, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those cases, more than 20 million are among adults, with the greatest number of cases among ages 35 and 65.
Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lung airways that can lead to coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath or wheezing. Among adults who develop asthma later in life, the symptoms may initially be more subtle than in children, which can cause patients to overlook or ignore the condition. But its important to treat symptoms as soon as possible so they dont become severe, said Dr. PÃÂ©rez-FernÃÂ¡ndez, who also serves as director of pulmonology for West Kendall Baptist Hospital.
Side Effects Of Relievers And Preventers
Relievers are a safe and effective medicine, and have few side effects as long as they are not used too much. The main side effects include a mild shaking of the hands , headaches and muscle cramps. These usually only happen with high doses of reliever inhaler and usually only last for a few minutes.
Preventers are very safe at usual doses, although they can cause a range of side effects at high doses, especially with long-term use.
The main side effect of preventer inhalers is a fungal infection of the mouth or throat . You may also develop a hoarse voice and sore throat.
Using a spacer can help prevent these side effects, as can rinsing your mouth or cleaning your teeth after using your preventer inhaler.
Your doctor or nurse will discuss with you the need to balance control of your asthma with the risk of side effects, and how to keep side effects to a minimum.
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Q: What Happens To The Lungs During A Mild Case Of Covid
Dr. Connolly: Once in the chest, the virus begins to impact a persons airways causing inflammation. As inflammation increases, a barking, dry cough that sounds and feels like asthma develops. In addition, this can cause chest tightness or deep pain while breathing.
Even though its generally mild for some people, the swelling and tightness that results from airway inflammation is essentially like having a sprained windpipe. Think of it like having a sprained ankle, but the effects and discomfort that come with having a sprain are felt inside of your chest.
How You Can Tell If You Are Suffering From Anxiety
The easiest way to determine if you are suffering from anxiety-induced chest tightness is by ruling out any cardiac or lung-related disease. Only a physician can rule these out completely.
A few signs can be helpful in determining if your chest tightness is cardiac-related. This is by no means an all-inclusive list. So, when in doubt, please visit your primary care physician. Generally, the following is more likely to be true of anxiety-related chest tightness and/or pressure:
- It is less likely to radiate towards the back, arms, or shoulders.
- It is more likely to occur with other anxiety symptoms.
- It tends to last for less than 10 minutes.
Again, having chest pain that abides by these suggestions does not rule out any cardiac or pulmonary causes. Also, women, diabetics, and the elderly often present with chest pain that is atypical of traditional cardiac chest tightness. So, if you belong to one of these groups and have new-onset chest pressure and/or tightness, it is best to see a physician first.
Anxiety attacks have a peak time, and that tends to be when the chest pressure is at its worst. Cardiac chest pressure, on the other hand, is more likely to last longer than 15 minutes, radiate, not be relieved with the resolution of anxiety, and be associated with shortness of breath etc.
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Can Acid Reflux Cause Nerve Pain
Acid reflux symptoms can be typical or atypical in nature. Tingling limbs and nerve pain are considered rare and atypical acid reflux symptoms.
Dr. Mark Babyatsky, a former department chairman at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, explained that inflammation from acid reflux can reach the lungs and trigger pneumonia.
As a result, the diaphragm can become inflamed, affecting the phrenic nerve, which is a nerve connecting the neck, lung, heart, and diaphragm. In this scenario, a patient can feel referred pain in the limbs, specifically the arms and shoulders.
Alternatively, nerve-related issues may be caused by pre-existing neuropathic conditions, leading to acid reflux. An example of this is gastroparesis. Gastroparesis is a form of diabetic peripheral neuropathy characterized by slow digestion. This leads to bloating, heartburn, and vomiting of undigested food.
If youre experiencing acid reflux symptoms with nerve pain, theres a high chance that your nerve pain is not reflux-related, especially if you are experiencing temporary reflux. Get in touch with a medical professional to find a separate diagnosis concerning your nerve pain.
Know About Unusual Asthma Symptoms
Not everyone with asthma has the usual symptoms of cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Sometimes individuals have unusual asthma symptoms that may not appear to be related to asthma. Some “unusual” asthma symptoms may include the following:
- rapid breathing
- difficulty sleeping or nighttime asthma
- chronic cough without wheezing
Also, asthma symptoms can be mimicked by other conditions such as bronchitis, vocal cord dysfunction, and even heart failure.
It’s important to understand your body. Talk with your asthma doctor and others with asthma. Be aware that asthma may not always have the same symptoms in every person.
For more detail, see WebMDâs article Unusual Asthma Symptoms.
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My Experience With Chest Tightness And Asthma
I have never worn a corset, however, that is what I imagine happening in my chest when I experience chest tightness. I describe it as a corset to others because it feels like a physical barrier, holding my chest in as I try to inflate my lungs. As if I were being hugged too tightly as I try to inhale. Often, the constriction tightens with each attempted breath, spurring a counter-productive panic.
I dont always experience this symptom with my asthma, its a secondary symptom, mostly. When I do experience it, its usually accompanied by stress or anxiety, as an exacerbation to my initial flare. Im thankful for this, because, in all honestly, its terrifying.
My biggest fears to this day are drowning and suffocating, the feeling of not being able to breathe stemming directly from the tightness of my chest during an asthma attack. I like to understand my fears, I find it helps me to rationalize and reduce anxiety. So, I dove into a bit of research and this is what I found.
Shortness Of Breath And Its Causes
Theres no clear definition of shortness of breath, but most people describe it as a feeling of being unable to get enough air, or that breathing takes more effort than usual. Some people may feel chest tightness. Shortness of breath may come on in a matter of minutes, or develop chronically over much longer lengths of time.
In the vast majority of cases, shortness of breath is because of conditions related to the heart and lungs. Some of the more common causes include:
- Serious heart conditions, such as heart attacks or congestive heart failure
- Pulmonary embolism
- Bronchitis or pneumonia
- A collapsed lung
- If shortness of breath is chronic meaning it has lasted for weeks or longer its often due to any of the above causes.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Asthma
While symptoms vary from person to person, the most common signs of mild asthma include:
- difficulty breathing feeling breathless, even while resting, or being unable to finish full sentences before needing to take another breath
- wheezing making a whistling sound while breathing
- coughing either at specific times or after certain activities
During a severe asthma attack, you may notice more serious symptoms, such as:
- feeling very distressed, exhausted or even limp from trying to breathe
- deep sucking motions at the throat or chest while trying to breathe
Know Why Infections Trigger Asthma Symptoms
Sometimes a virus or bacterial infection is an asthma trigger. For instance, you might have a cold virus that triggers your asthma symptoms. Or your asthma can be triggered by a bacterial sinus infection. Sinusitis with asthma is common.
Itâs important to know the signs and symptoms of respiratory tract infections and to call your health care provider immediately for diagnosis and treatment. For instance, you might have symptoms of increased shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or wheezing with a bronchial infection. In people who donât have asthma, the bronchial infection may not trigger the same debilitating symptoms. Know your body and understand warning signs that an infection might be starting. Then take the proper medications as prescribed to eliminate the infection and regain control of your asthma and health.
For more detail, see WebMDâs article Infections and Asthma.
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Vaping And Lung Damage
- Talk with your teen about the dangers of vaping.
- Vaping can cause severe lung damage. It can become permanent.
- Vaping can even cause death .
- Vaping tobacco also causes nicotine addiction.
- For these reasons, the legal age to purchase vaping products is 21 in the US.
- Encourage your teen to not start vaping or to give it up.
- Warning: home-made or street-purchased vaping solutions are the most dangerous.
How Is Asthma Diagnosed
Your health care provider may use many tools to diagnose asthma:
- Medical history
- Lung function tests, including spirometry, to test how well your lungs work
- Tests to measure how your airways react to specific exposures. During this test, you inhale different concentrations of allergens or medicines that may tighten the muscles in your airways. Spirometry is done before and after the test.
- Peak expiratory flow tests to measure how fast you can blow air out using maximum effort
- Fractional exhaled nitric oxide tests to measure levels of nitric oxide in your breath when you breathe out. High levels of nitric oxide may mean that your lungs are inflamed.
- Allergy skin or blood tests, if you have a history of allergies. These tests check which allergens cause a reaction from your immune system.
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History And Physical Examination
Your physical examination will include checking your vital signs, such as your temperature, pulse, and breathing rate. A fever can be an indication of an infection. Rapid breathing or a rapid heart rate can be a sign of a severe infection or an impending asthma attack.
Your doctor will listen to your breathing sounds with a stethoscope, which will help determine whether your congestion is on one side of the lungs or both.
- Generally, with asthma and allergies, congestion affects both lungs.
- Congestion can be limited to one lung or one section of a lung when there is another cause, such as an infection.
What Is Good Asthma Care
Your doctor or nurse will tailor your asthma treatment to your symptoms. Sometimes you may need to be on higher levels of medication than at others.
You should be offered:
- care at your GP surgery provided by doctors and nurses trained in asthma management
- full information about your condition and how to control it
- involvement in making decisions about your treatment
- regular checks to ensure your asthma is under control and your treatment is right for you
- a written personal asthma action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse
It is also important that your GP or pharmacist teaches you how to properly use your inhaler, as this is an important part of good asthma care.
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