What Are the Symptoms of Asthma?

Common symptoms are coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness. Asthma may lead to a medical emergency. It is important to know the signs of a severe asthma episode (or asthma attack).


How Is Asthma Diagnosed?

A doctor may use a few different ways of testing for asthma. These include:

  • Taking a detailed medical history

  • A physical exam

  • Lung function tests

  • Chest or sinus X-ray

The doctor will look at the results from these tests. They will then decide what type of asthma you have. They will develop a treatment plan based on the type and severity of your symptoms.


What Is the Treatment for Asthma?

People with asthma usually see a doctor that specializes in allergies or the immune system. You and your doctor will come up with a plan to treat your asthma. It often involves a blend of medication and avoiding triggers. 

What Triggers Asthma?

Asthma symptoms can appear when you are exposed to a trigger. A trigger is something you are sensitive to that makes your airways become inflamed. This causes swelling, mucous production and narrowing in your airways. Common asthma triggers are pollen, chemicals, extreme weather changes, smoke, dust mites, stress and exercise.


How Can I Prevent an Asthma Episode?

The best way to prevent an asthma episode, or attack, is to follow your treatment plan. Learn your triggers and avoid them. Take your allergy and asthma medicines when you should. Use your quick-acting medicine as soon as you start to notice symptoms.

Many people live normal lives with asthma if it’s properly managed. With a good treatment plan and guidance from your doctor, you can still do much of what you enjoy. For example, many professional athletes have asthma.


Asthma Facts and Figures




[1] Centers for Disease Control. Asthma. http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/default.htm. 

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