Skip to main content
Average ER Wait Time
Checking ER Wait Time
The feed could not be reached
Retry?
Doctors Hospital of Augusta
--
mins

Symptoms of Asthma

Asthma symptoms may differ somewhat in adults and children. In addition, severity and duration of symptoms vary from mild to severe.

Common asthma symptoms include:

  • Wheezing
  • Cough
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Complaints of chest pain or odd sensations
  • Difficulty during feeding in infants
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Limited exercise tolerance or avoiding exercise or sports

There are warning signs that signal an impending asthma attack. By learning to recognize these early symptoms as warning signs, you can help prevent attacks or reduce their severity.

  • Increased shortness of breath and wheezing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • An increased need to use bronchodilators
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Frequent coughing or cough spasms
  • Waking up coughing in the night
  • Shortness of breath while stationery or exercising
  • Feelings of tightness in the chest
  • Restless sleep patterns
  • Trouble feeding
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety

Exposure to asthma triggers can cause airways to contract and become inflamed, narrowed, and clogged with mucus. Less room is available for air to flow in and out of the lungs. The duration of the asthma attack varies. Attacks range from mild to severe and last anywhere from a few minutes to several days. During attacks, bronchial muscles go into spasm, causing air to be trapped in tiny air breathing sacs in the lungs, called alveoli. Asthma attacks may be fatal if not identified and treated.

Airway Narrowed Due to Mucus Plugs
Breast self-exam, step 1
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Revision Information

  • Asthma in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114449/Asthma-in-adults-and-adolescents. Updated July 22, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.

  • Asthma in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T500326/Asthma-in-children. Updated July 8, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.

  • Asthma exacerbation in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114076/Asthma-exacerbation-in-adults-and-adolescents. Updated October 2, 2014. Accessed September 30, 2016.

  • Asthma exacerbation in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T241915/Asthma-exacerbation-in-children. Updated January 20, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2016.

  • Asthma symptoms. American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology website. Available at: http://www.acaai.org/allergist/asthma/symptoms/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed August 14, 2015.

  • Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. American Lung Association website. Available at: http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/asthma/learning-more-about-asthma/symptoms-diagnosis-and-treatment.html. Accessed August 14, 2015.