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Asthma in Teens and Adults (cont.)

Symptoms

Symptoms of asthma can be mild or severe. You may have no symptoms; severe, daily symptoms; or something in between. How often you have symptoms can also change. Symptoms of asthma may include:

  • Wheezing, which is a whistling noise of varying loudness that occurs when the airways of the lungs (bronchial tubes) narrow.
  • Coughing, which is the only symptom for some people.
  • Chest tightness.
  • Shortness of breath, which is rapid, shallow breathing or difficulty breathing.
  • Sleep disturbance because of coughing or having a hard time breathing.
  • Tiring quickly during exercise.

An asthma attack occurs when your symptoms suddenly increase. Factors that can lead to an asthma attack or make it worse include:

Many people have symptoms that become worse at night (nocturnal asthma). In all people, lung function changes throughout the day and night. In people who have asthma, this often is very noticeable, especially at night, and nighttime cough and shortness of breath frequently occur. In general, waking at night because of shortness of breath or a cough indicates poorly controlled asthma.

Symptoms are used to classify asthma by severity. They are used along with peak expiratory flow to help define the green, yellow, and red zones of your asthma action plan. You use this plan to decide on treatment during an asthma attack.

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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