What Are The Symptoms Of Asthma?

Medical textbooks correctly inform us that “classic” symptoms of asthma are three in number: wheezing, cough, and abnormal sensations of breathing, or dyspnea. If you are studying for a knowledge test, mark those three symptoms on your answer sheet. You will get full credit for the right answers and will surely score an A for your asthma knowledge!

Typical asthma symptoms that we see in the office or clinic, on the other hand, represent variations of the big three: an unusual awareness of breathing, uncomfortable breathing, chest pressure or a feeling of chest discomfort, wheezing or noisy breathing, labored breathing, coughing, mucus production, and breathlessness with exertion or effort.

Nocturnal symptoms, such as waking from sleep with uncomfortable breathing or wheezing, are indications of less than optimal asthma control and are signs of an asthma exacerbation. Asthma can manifest itself in various modes, from mild to severe. A person with a milder form typically experiences different symptoms at different levels of frequency and intensity than a person with a more severe form of asthma.

Children may have a persistent cough (often misdiagnosed as recurrent bronchitis) as their only asthma symptom. Cough is, in fact, the single most common asthma symptom in children. Symptoms of asthma may thus differ from person to person and may vary in an individual over time. Asthma symptoms are usually episodic; symptoms may come and go, and are not necessarily continuously present.