a woman uses an inhaler for her asthma symptoms

Asthma Symptoms

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the lungs. The condition causes airways to constrict, leading to breathing problems. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

The hidden cause of asthma is inflammation. This is why it is referred to as a chronic inflammatory disease. The airways in your lungs are always inflamed to some degree when you suffer from this condition. When your condition worsens, they become even more swollen and irritated. The amount of air you breathe in or out is reduced due to the inflammation. The airways can be further obstructed by the production of excess mucus in some cases. Both inflammation and airway constriction work together to narrow your airways, resulting in the familiar coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath. Sufferers may have inflamed airways even when they are experiencing no symptoms. The feeling of tightness in the chest experienced by sufferers is due to muscles in the airways of the lungs being squeezed together or tightened. The tightening effect is known as "bronchoconstriction" and makes it hard to breathe. Inhalers are often used to manage asthma symptoms.

Symptoms

People with asthma have symptoms when their airways constrict, inflame, or fill with mucus. Typically, symptoms of this chronic inflammatory disease include: coughing and wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness. However, not every sufferer experiences the same symptoms as others. You may experience all of these asthma symptoms, or you may have different asthma symptoms at different times. Your asthma symptoms could vary from attack to attack- they may be mild one day and severe the next. Some sufferers go weeks at a time without having any symptoms at all, only to be interrupted by occasional worsening of symptoms. Also, some sufferers of this chronic inflammatory disease may only have attacks during exercise or while they have an illness. For most sufferers, mild attacks are the norm. Typically, the airways open up in a range of a few minutes to a few hours. Severe attacks are more rare but can last longer, requiring immediate medical attention. It is critical to perceive and treat mild symptoms to help prevent severe ones and keep the condition of this chronic inflammatory disease under control. There are a number of early warning signs that may occur just before or at the start of an attack. They may begin prior to the more well-known symptoms of the condition and are signs your asthma is getting worse. Being aware of these will help in knowing what options are available to improve symptoms.

Treatment Options

Treatment for asthma symptoms ranges from anti-inflammatory drugs and bronchodilator inhalers to asthmatic drugs administered in a nebulizer. It is important to have a good understanding of how asthmatic medicines work so you will know which medicines are effective for your asthma symptoms. You should also learn about natural remedies which are available and methods of monitoring your breathing in a home-based setting. Treatment of the condition which is early and aggressive is crucial to symptom relief and prevention. Learning about the many forms the condition is treated with and talking to your doctor is key. Anti-inflammatory medications, inhaled steroids in particular, are the most vital asthma treatment available for most sufferers of this chronic inflammatory disease. These critical medicines prevent attacks by reducing mucus production and swelling in the air passages of the lungs. Consequently, air passages are less sensitive and more unlikely to react to triggers and create symptoms. Ultimately, proper treatment of asthma symptoms holds the promise of improving the lives of asthma sufferers and the people who love them.

Last Updated: November 10, 2016