Asthma - Signs, Symptoms, and Complications - Signs, Symptoms, and Complications

How often signs and symptoms of asthma occur may depend on how severe, or intense, the asthma is and whether you are exposed to allergens. Some people have symptoms every day, while others have symptoms only a few days of the year. For some people, asthma may cause discomfort but does not interfere with daily activities. If you have more severe asthma, however, your asthma may limit what you are able to do.

When asthma is well controlled, a person shows few symptoms. When symptoms worsen, a person can have what is called an asthma attack, or an exacerbation. Over time, uncontrolled asthma can damage the airways in the lungs.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of asthma may include:

  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing, especially at night or early morning
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing, which causes a whistling sound when you exhale

While other conditions can cause the same symptoms as asthma, the pattern of symptoms in people who have asthma usually has some of the following characteristics.

  • They come and go over time or within the same day.
  • They start or get worse with viral infections, such as a cold.
  • They are triggered by exercise, allergies, cold air, or  hyperventilation  from laughing or crying.
  • They are worse at night or in the morning

Asthma attacks, or exacerbations, are episodes that occur when symptoms get much worse and require a change in typical treatment. These can come on gradually or suddenly and may be life-threatening. People who have severe asthma often get asthma attacks more often.