Asthma Symptoms

An allergic reaction featuring symptoms like coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest tightness, can be set off when someone with asthma inhales allergens they are sensitive to.  These symptoms can have a negative impact on our quality of life and limit daily activities or affect our ability to exercise.  It may also affect productivity at work, cause absence from work or school, and even create socially awkward or distracting situations because other might mistake allergic reactions described above for a contagious illness.

A cough is one symptom seen in bronchial asthma.  It is one of our body’s reflexes that helps prevent potentially harmful agents from getting into our lungs.  It happens when an allergic reaction occurs in our airways and the body senses the threat of a harmful substance (the allergen), thus causing a combination of body functions that results in sudden, forceful expulsion of air from the lungs.  These include an abrupt contraction of bronchial wall muscles, chest wall muscles and the diaphragm.

Another symptom of asthma is wheezing – a whistling sound caused by air being squeezed as it passes through narrow airways. The narrowing of the airways occurs as a result of inflammation thru a combination of factors: (1) swelling of the membranes inside the bronchial tubes, making them narrow, (2) the bronchial muscles constricting or tightening, and (3) mucus production, which changes the dynamics of airflow through the bronchial tubes.  Shortness of breath is likewise experienced during asthma flare-ups because the patient can sense that there is limited air getting into the lungs due to narrowing or tightening of the airways.

Chest tightness is usually experienced as an asthma symptom because our chest wall muscles are working harder to move air in and out of our lungs, making the muscles cramp and tighten. Bronchial spasm and constriction can also feel like chest tightness.