The severity of asthma varies from mild to severe and it is a chronic disease. An asthma attack is actually an acute exacerbation of the disease. When an attack is not there, it does not mean that Asthma is not there. The symptoms of Asthma consist of a triad of Dyspnea, Wheezing and Cough.
Symptoms of Asthma include:
- Cough: Cough can be productive or dry, and is especially seen in early morning and at night.
- Breathlessness: Difficulty in breathing due to mucous plugging and airway spasm is worse by any physical activity like climbing stairs.
- Chest tightness: Tightness of chest or pain in chest is present along with other symptoms of asthma.
- Wheezing: Wheezing is an abnormal whistling sound due to difficult respiration. Wheezing is more commonly seen in children than adults.
Symptoms of Asthma in severe cases include:
- Bluish discoloration of lips and face with nasal flaring
- Rapid pulse
- Decreased level of consciousness
In severe attacks, the accessory muscles (sternocleidomastoid and scalene muscles of the neck) become visibly active and in extreme situations, patient may begin a gasping type of respiratory pattern.
Less typically, a patient with asthma may complain of intermittent episodes of non-productive cough or breathlessness on exertion. Children most often experience these symptoms of Asthma and they tend to interfere in daily activities, sports and games.