Recognizing asthma symptoms early is crucial in order to be able to treat it appropriately, but first it is important to define what asthma is, what its main symptoms are and what its triggers are.

What is asthma?

The asthma is a respiratory disease characterized by a state of chronic inflammation that generates intermittent hypersensitivity and increased secretion in the airways, especially in the bronchi. It usually manifests itself through attacks or episodes of bronchospasm (when the bronchi become congested from one moment to another), which are called asthma attacks .

Although it is more common in children, it can also affect adults at any age, with similar symptoms in all affected groups. It is important to know that the severity of presentation of asthma symptoms can vary even in the same person at different times in their life.

Asthma symptoms

Not all episodes of coughing or respiratory distress imply that the patient is asthmatic, so it is very important to recognize asthma symptoms and see a doctor when they occur to make an accurate diagnosis and define the best treatment adjusted to each patient. In this article we will talk about asthma symptoms and how to recognize them.

Shortness of breath

Also known as dyspnea. The person feels that he is not breathing properly and needs to take deep breaths to feel that the oxygen is correctly reaching his lungs. Due to respiratory distress, the patient may have rapid breathing alternating with bouts of coughing.

consumer toráxico

Due to respiratory distress, the patient feels the need to breathe deeper and for this, he uses his intercostal and supraclavicular muscles in order to expand the chest. These muscle groups are known as accessory muscles of respiration and when used repeatedly, chest pain is generated.

Chest tightness

Along with shortness of breath, another common symptom is a feeling of chest tightness, which is why many patients complain of a tight or tight chest when an asthma attack begins .


It is a reflection of the airway that occurs in order to expel any content, secretion or foreign body lodged inside. In the case of asthma , the patient has a dry cough or associated with phlegm (expectoration) due to increased secretion inside the bronchi. Generally, the cough is exacerbated at night, after physical exercise (jogging, playing, etc.), eating or laughing.


Commonly known as whistles or whistles. They occur commonly during expiration (or exhalation), although they can occur in all phases of respiration. They occur due to the accumulation of secretions at the bronchial level, which generate resistance and prevent the air from leaving easily through the respiratory tract, producing that characteristic sound.

Feeling of panic

Many people feel anxious about an asthma attack because they feel like they can’t breathe. Above all, in those who have already had severe crises that have merited consultation in the emergency room and hospital stays.


Due to the lack of oxygen in the tissues, accentuated pallor occurs on the face and mucous membranes of the mouth, eyes and nose during an asthmatic attack. This paleness can also be accompanied by sweating of the face and hands.

Other symptoms

A typical asthma attack is characterized by the appearance of respiratory distress accompanied by chest pain or tightness, cough and wheezing, however, when other symptoms are associated, the presence of a possible complication should be considered and it should be treated as soon as possible.

These symptoms are fever, weakness, fainting, cyanosis of the lips and fingers (purplish coloration) and loss of appetite, which indicate the presence of a respiratory infection such as acute bronchitis or pneumonia and must be diagnosed by a doctor to initiate treatment.

What Triggers Asthma Symptoms?

There is no definitive cause that explains how asthma occurs , however, studies show that there is an important genetic component (children of allergic or asthmatic people are more likely to develop it) and another allergic component.

Contact with external substances called allergens triggers an inflammatory response at the bronchial level , which generates increased secretions and congestion in the airway. Some of these allergens are mites, animals with fur, contact with insects, pollen from flowers, strong odors from detergents, perfumes and cleaning fluids, humid and cold climates, environmental pollution, walls with humidity and fungus, dust in carpets, among others.

Some of the most important triggers for asthma attacks are respiratory infections , which range from a simple common cold to rhinitis , sinusitis, pharyngotonsillitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia. In asthmatic patients , a crisis almost always develops after a respiratory infection.

It is important to know that not all patients with a respiratory infection are asthmatic . In fact, in some infections the patient may require nebulisation, but this does not imply that similar episodes will develop in the future, as happens in asthmatic patients.

Dr. Eric Jackson

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses. He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *