The most important thing to understand about asthma is that it is a chronic, inflammatory disease. This means it can present itself daily causing inflammation of the bronchials along with bronchial constriction.
The bronchials are tiny tubes that carry oxygen into our alveoli, where air is mixed with blood. In asthma, these tubes are open and close frequently, causing shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing. Inflammation can lead to scarring and damage in the bronchials that will cause the bronchials to close more often. Bronchial inflammation is directly proportional to the amount of chest tightness and wheezing a person experiences.
- Chest tightness, congestion or even wheezing while exercising
- Chest tightness during the night
that may awaken you around 1:00-4:00 AM
- Coughing when exposed to triggers (triggers can include: odors, fumes, cold air, allergens, exercise, etc.)
- Colds and infections typically go to the chest and lead to excessive coughing and chest congestion
- Wheezing ( a whistling sound as you exhale)
- Feeling like you cannot completely exhale, or maybe cannot completely inhale
This list is a general overview of the symptoms a physician may look for when diagnosing asthma. Children may experience a few slightly different symptoms including:
- Colds and infections that go to the chest
- Coughing to the point of vomiting (also called post-tussive emesis)
- Coughing or wheezing with exercise or crying
- Asthma is generally genetic
- It can be diagnosed at any age
- Flare ups are caused by triggers
- If your asthma is classified as persistent, a daily anti-inflammatory inhaled medication needs to be used
- Bronchodilators may be used in response to symptoms or before activities
- The more you need a bronchodilator, the more inflammation is occurring
- Asthma Action Plans are important to have and understand
This section gave a detailed overview of the different aspects of asthma. It is designed to help the parent or individual with asthma have a better understanding of asthma and assure that proper diagnosis and treatment have occurred.
More About Asthma