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Understanding the Symptoms of Asthma

Author: Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center

What is Asthma?

An estimated 17 million people living in the United States have self-reported asthma. Asthma is a chronic illness marked by wheezing, chest tightness and/or shortness of breath.
Any of the symptoms below can be a sign of asthma:

  • Coughing when exercising or following exercise;
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Wheezing when breathing
  • A tight feeling in the chest

If you or anybody you know has exhibited the above conditions, discuss with an allergist. Your allergist can explainto you the causes of your symptoms. If allergies are left untreated they can create inside asthma, so it’s essential to check an allergist while you first begin experiencing problems.

Asthma symptoms are caused by the constriction (tightening of the muscles) and the inflammation (swelling and irritation) of the airways. Constriction and inflammation of the airways and increased mucosa make it troublesome and sometimes impossible to breathe.

What causes Asthma?

Allergens, irritants, respiratory infections and/or exercise can spark asthma symptoms. Asthma is catagorized by symptom ‘triggers.’

An Illustration:

Allergic asthma is triggered by supersensitivity to allergens – pet dander, dust or dust mite, mold or pollen.

Seasonal asthma is triggered by seasonal supersensitive reactions to allergens – trees, grasses or weeds.

Non-allergic asthma is triggered by irritants in the air that you breathe so as tobacco smoke, wood smoke, room deodorizers, new paint, aromatize, etc.

Exercise-induced asthma is triggered by exercise or physical action.

Nocturnal asthma can appear with whatever type of asthma, though the asthma symptoms will increase or decline at night.

For treatment, it is essential to recognise asthma ‘triggers.’ Airway inflammation might constantly be there, even while you believe you are symptom-free.

What about kids and asthma?

Asthma is the primary common chronic illness experienced in childhood. If a child’s asthma is left untreated, it can result in loss of sleep, exercise limitations, absenteeism, emergency room visits and, in a rare cases, death.

Children have smaller airways than adults, which makes asthma especially serious for them. Children with asthma may experience wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and trouble breathing, especially early in the morning or at night.

Many things can cause asthma, including

  • Allergens – mold, pollen, animals
  • Irritants – cigarette smoke, air pollution
  • Weather – cold air, changes in weather
  • Exercise
  • Infections – flu, common cold

The nice news? Just like adult asthma, a child’s asthma can be efficaciously treated with medications and avoidance. Once again, receiving medical assistance for asthma
is important.

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About the Author

The Allergy, Asthma & Sinus Center is one of the country’s largest and most established allergy practices and is staffed by an experienced and caring team of multidisciplinary specialists, board certified in infant, pediatric, adolescent and adult allergy, asthma and immunology. All of our providers are dedicated to providing our patients with expert and friendly care.

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