Asthma, a chronic disease of the lungs, causes inflammation of the bronchial tubes in the human body and causes them to swell. The bronchial tubes are also known as airways, and they carry air to and from the lungs. When the walls of these bronchial tubes swell and the path of the airways become thinner, the air from the atmosphere and that from the lungs cannot pass easily along the path. Sometimes, cells in the bronchial tubes may also secrete mucus, a slimy and thick substance, which can further obstruct the flow of air within these tubes. Because of this, a person will experience breathing difficulties and thus, they will suffer from asthma, which is also known as bronchial hyperactivity (BHR).
The tissues or the air sacs present in the lungs are not affected by asthma; it is the airway that swells up and reduces the amount of airflow. People suffering from asthma can always keep the infection under control. However, it is important to note that the disease can never be entirely cured. The factors that are responsible for causing asthma is unknown to this date. Many doctors have concluded that asthma and atopy (a hereditary tendency of producing antibodies that cause allergic reactions) might be strongly related to each other.
Asthma signs and symptoms can mostly be seen in children. However, adults can develop asthma too resulting from non-allergic infections of the respiratory tract. Symptoms of asthma vary from person to person and there are a number of factors that can trigger these symptoms. These factors include:
- Environmental factors such as weather, gases, vapors, fumes, etc.
- Emotional factors like depression, stress or anxiety
- Medications like ibuprofen, beta-blockers and even aspirin
An important fact to remember is that these factors are not responsible for causing asthma; rather, they make the symptoms of asthma more visible. Asthma signs and symptoms are not universal and they usually differ person to person. The symptom of asthma that is common to most people is the sudden change in the pattern of breathing in an individual. Other common symptoms that most asthma patients experience are:
- Whistling sound during exhalation
- Breathe shortness
- Runny nose
- Tightness of chest
- Dark circles under eyes
- Sleeping troubles
- Throat itchiness
- Low physical exercise tolerance
Other symptoms may also be noticed, and the signs and symptoms of asthma may vary with respect to their intensity, duration and frequency. Besides that, not all patients necessarily experience all of these symptoms, and a person experiencing these symptoms may not necessarily have asthma. If these symptoms are experienced, one must see a doctor who will recommend a lung function test by which asthma can be confirmed. These symptoms, if recognized early, can help keep asthma under control and also, in many cases,may prevent asthma attacks in patients.
A patient may not necessarily have visible asthma signs and symptoms. When the stated symptoms become more severe than usual, a person is said to have an asthma attack. Symptoms of critical asthma attacks include:
- Speaking difficulties
- Rapid pulse
- Cyanosis (bluish grey tints in fingernails and mouth)
- Difficulty in concentrating
In order to avoid asthma attacks and other asthma-related difficulties, one must consult a doctor and have their symptoms and peak expiratory flow monitored. Patients should also avoid all possible factors that trigger the symptoms of asthma and take proper medication after consulting a doctor.
source: Asthma Signs and Symptoms