Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Editorial Board: Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Asthma Symptoms Prevention

Doctor and patient

What is asthma?

Asthma means “panting” in Greek. Someone who has an asthma attack usually pants or feels breathless.

It is an allergic disorder characterized by:

– Resistance to the airflow in the airways, which changes in severity over a short duration of time.

– Inflammation of the airways, that is, the bronchial tubes are swollen and red.

– Increased responsiveness to a variety of stimuli.

Other times, when the person does not suffer from an asthma attack, his/her breathing is normal.

Asthma Symptoms

Cough, which may be either dry or productive

The mucus glands lining the bronchial tubes start to produce mucus which then blocks the airways. The nerves in walls of the airways are stimulated causing the mucus to be coughed up as sputum. This is called productive cough.

A dry cough which is unaccompanied by moisture is caused by spasm, which is involuntary, violent contraction of the bronchial muscles.

Shortness of breath

Asthma sufferer will have a feel that he/she is being choked. The person feels that he is not getting adequate air into the lungs. The person will also find it difficult to breathe out. The stale air builds up in the lungs, causing them to become over-inflated. The person will breathe too heavily and quickly.


A wheeze is a whistling sound caused by air being forced through narrowed airways. The wheezing may come unexpectedly and may turn worse early in the morning or at night.

Painless feeling of tightness in the chest

Sufferer often feel the tightness of someone standing on their chest.

Other signs of asthma are:

Early Warning Symptoms

– Asthma Symptoms persisting or getting worse even with sufficient medication

– Inhalations bringing relief that last for hours

– More medication needed than usual

– Coughing more often than before

– Sleep interrupted by wheezing, coughing or even breathlessness

Extreme Asthma Symptoms

– Feeling exhausted and fatigue

– Sleep being greatly disturbed

– Difficulty in breathing is clearly noticeable, especially during resting

– Feeling very confused, frightened, anxious and drowsy

– Inability to talk (saying a few words only)

– Cyanosis (lips and face turning bluish or bluish purple)

– Asthma worsening quickly rather than slowly, despite the use of medication

– Serious chest pain

– Sweating

– Rapid pulse

Sometimes symptoms of asthma may persist for years even though the sufferers are no longer coming into close contact with the triggering/allergic agents. Thus, a severe asthma attack can still start suddenly, catching everyone by surprise.