Asthma is a common condition impacting the lives of millions of Americans a year. If you or a loved one is suffering from asthma check out this overview of asthma symptoms, treatment and prevention.


What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a long-term or chronic condition that inflames and limits the airways in the lungs. Inflammation causes swelling of the airways. Asthma may cause wheezing periods, tightness of the chest, difficulty breathing, and coughing. People with asthma may show symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Additionally, the frequency of asthma attacks varies from person to person, ranging from daily to weekly or in conjunction with other environmental factors. 

In an individual with asthma the inside walls of the airways, known as bronchial tubes, are swollen or inflamed. This inflammation or swelling makes the airways extremely prone to irritations and raises their sensitivity to an allergic response. The airways swell in an allergic reaction, tightening the muscles all over the airway, making it much harder for the air to move in and out of the lungs.

The airways swell and become highly prone to some of the substances that an individual may inhale. There is no complete cure available for asthma, but there are available techniques to help an individual with asthma lead a proper and active life.

Asthma Attacks

Asthma attacks are specific incidents that take place when asthma symptoms become heightened and extreme. Asthma attacks can come on suddenly and may threaten life. People who experience severe asthma are more likely to experience asthma attacks.

During a major asthma attack swelling in the airways can stop oxygen from reaching the lungs. This also prevents the oxygen from entering the bloodstream and traveling to major organs. Such an asthma attack can be life threatening and requires immediate medical attention! 

Some common signs and symptoms of an asthma attack include:

Severe wheezing when inhaling and exhaling

Non-stop coughing

Rapid breathing

Chest pressure

Panic and anxiety attacks

Blue lips or fingernails

Asthma Symptoms

Asthma sufferers experience symptoms when the airways tighten, swell or fill with mucus. The common symptoms of asthma include the following:

Tightness or pain of the chest

A pattern of coughing in the night or early in the morning

Shortness of breath

Wheezing, that creates a whistling noise when you exhale

Sleep problems caused by coughing or wheezing

During exercise, if you have a cold, or during periods of intense stress, symptoms may worsen. Children with asthma may experience almost the same symptoms as adults with asthma: coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. In some children a chronic cough may be the only symptom. 

However, not every individual with asthma has the same symptoms in the same manner. You may not always have these signs, or at separate occasions you may have distinct symptoms. The symptoms of your asthma may also differ from one asthma attack to another, being mild during one incident and more extreme in another. 

Patterns in symptoms of asthma are important and can help your physician make a diagnosis. Take note of factors such as the time of day you experience asthma, whether you experience attacks during or after workouts, if certain seasons worsen your symptoms, and other environmental factors that trigger your asthma such as pet dander or smoke. 

Early Signs of an Asthma Attack or Incident 

Early detection is important for most physical ailments, and asthma is no exception to this. While these signs are not sufficiently serious to prevent you from doing your daily operations, they can be an indication an asthma attack is brewing. You can stop an asthma attack from coming on full force, or prevent it from worsening by recognizing these important signs. 

An asthma attack's early warning signs include:

Having a hard time catching your breath or shortness of breath


Mood swings or feeling easily upset

Having trouble sleeping

Signs of a cold such as sneezing, stuffy nose, cough, clogged nose, headaches, and migraine

If you think you are suffering from asthma contact BASS Primary Care in Walnut Creek today.

At BASS Primary Care Walk-in Clinic, it's Your Health, Your Schedule.