Q. Should asthma be considered seriously? What are the common symptoms? Does wheezing disappear when the attack is severe?
A). Asthma should be taken seriously. One should be able to recognize its symptoms and signs and act upon them.
Asthma Signs, Symptoms and Triggers
- There is tightness in the chest and a sense of pressure somewhere in the front chest as well as in the area located around the breastbone of the person.
- An early sign of asthma is shortness of breath, there is a feeling of choking or breathlessness, difficult breathing or gasping for air or panting.
- When air is forced through constricted or narrow airways, it causes wheezing. The sound can be quiet, so that it can be heard only through a doctor’s stethoscope or maybe loud enough that it can be heard by someone beside you or a bystander. Initially wheezing is heard during exhalation as a rasping or whistling sound. But it can be heard when inhaling or when asthma worsens.
- Excess of mucus is one of the main symptoms of asthma which can lead to coughing. This excess mucus comes about when a person is suffering from an asthma attack.
- Coughing is a symptom which happens when the body attempts to clear the blockages found in the lungs. This symptom can be loose and deep which pushes up the mucus. An asthmatic person may cough up mucus plugs (small casts, chunks or spirals of mucus that have taken the shape of bronchioles and collect in airways). The cough can also be dry and hacking. A non-productive cough may eventually produce bronchospasm when it irritates the lungs and fails to bring up mucus.
- Anxiety or apprehension is the other symptom that often accompanies an asthma attack. When the attack is over the anxiety or feeling of panic may dissolve into a feeling of exhaustion.
All the symptoms vary from person to person and every symptom may not be present during an asthma attack.
The disappearance or absence of wheezing does not necessarily imply that asthma is improving. In very severe attacks wheezing and other breath sounds become more-faint as the asthmatic patient becomes extremely fatigued. If the condition does not improve or is not resolved the chest becomes ominously quiet (silent chest) and can lead to respiratory failure.