4 Possible Symptoms Of Asthma

Asthma, a chronic lung disease, affects more than 26 million people in the United States. Though there is no cure for the condition, one can manage symptoms to a significant degree with the help of medications and other recommendations. It is important to know about these potential signs so you can have your asthma diagnosed as soon as possible:

1. Breathlessness even when at rest

Normally, workouts and other physical activities can leave us out of breath due to the energy expenditure. But people with asthma may experience breathlessness even during instances when they are not using much energy — say after walking or even while sitting.

Rather than exercise, the patient may be facing this as a result of being exposed to irritants like tobacco smoke, dust, or animal fur. This would leave the airways inflamed even in a state of rest. Other possible triggers include emotional stress, weather changes, and certain medications.

2. Coughing that interrupts your sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, asthma-associated coughing and wheezing tend to noticeably worsen at night. If you find yourself waking up due to these symptoms, you may be experiencing nocturnal asthma or nighttime asthma.

While the exact reason may vary, experts suggest that our circadian rhythm may impact hormone production which, in turn, reduces protection against asthma symptoms. Being in a reclining position or the presence of triggers in your bedroom (for example, if you sleep near a pet dog or cat) might be factors as well. 

3. Tight feeling in your chest

Feeling tightness in your chest could indicate a number of issues — acid reflux, heart attack, or asthma to name a few. In one emergency department survey, chest tightness was reported as a symptom by 91 percent of asthma patients.  

"If you take a really deep breath and then try to take another one on top of it, your chest feels tight. That’s what it can feel like when you have asthma because air gets trapped in there," Raymond Casciari, a pulmonologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, told SELF.

4. Your skin develops a bluish tint 

If you have noticed a bluish discoloration of your skin, the cause is likely cyanosis. This means there is not enough oxygen in the blood, causing it to turn dark bluish-red. This is considered to be a sign of severe, untreated asthma or a particularly intense attack. Experts recommend seeking medical attention immediately, especially if this is accompanied by other symptoms like breathlessness.

As noted by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this is more easily detectable for people with lighter skin tones. Dark-skinned people may find it easier to detect cyanosis by taking note of a bluish hue in the nails or the mucous membranes i.e. parts such as the lips, gums, around the eyes.