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Sign and Symptoms of Bronchial Asthma
In Asthma the fellow becomes hyper responsive to environmental factors like pollens, dust etc. which result in inflammation in airway, muscle spasm in chest and excessive mucous production, which fill the airways with mucous. This causes intermittent reversible obstruction of the respiratory pathway.
Before the attack of asthma occur, there are some early warning signs and symptoms that can tell a person that the asthma attack is about to occur. Generally these signs are not severe enough to stop a fellow from going about his daily activities. But by recognizing these signs, asthma attack can be prevented.
Early warning signs of asthma attack include:
- Recurrent cough, especially at night
- Losing breath easily or shortness of breath
- Feeling very weak or tired when exercising
- Coughing or Wheezing while exercise
- Feeling tired, easily upset, grouchy, or moody
- Signs of cold i.e. sneezing, runny nose, cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, and headache
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Chest tightness
- Change in amount, color and thickness of mucus
Signs and symptoms of asthma vary from person to person and in different situations.
The most common among these signs and symptoms are:
- Coughing (especially in night)
- Tightness of the chest, pain or pressure
- Recurrent breathlessness or Shortness of breath
- Wheezing – A high pitched whistling sounds produced when breathing out especially in children. Lack of wheezing and a normal chest examination do not exclude asthma.
Other symptoms of an asthma episode include some or all of the below:
- Very rapid breathing and nasal flaring (the nostril size increases with each breath showing that person is working harder to take each breath)
- Chest pain or pressure
- Trouble focusing and talking
- Pale, sweaty face
- Cyanosis causing blue lips or finger nails
Most of the time asthma comes in the form of attacks for a specific time period. In between these attacks there is marked improvement in symptoms or these might disappear completely.
Symptoms of asthma occur or worsen in the presence of:
- Viral infection,
- Animals with fur or hair,
- House-dust mites (in mattresses, pillows, upholstered furniture, carpets), Mold, Smoke (tobacco, wood), Pollen,
- Changes in weather,
- Strong emotional expression (laughing or crying hard),
- Airborne chemicals or dusts,
- Menstrual cycles
Very severe asthma attacks known as status asthmaticus may constrict the airways so much that there is very less flow of air in and out of the lungs. Thus chest might be totally silent on examination i.e. wheezing sound or coughing
The symptoms of status asthmaticus (Acute severe asthma) include:
- Persistent shortness of breath,
- Inability to speak
- Breathlessness even while resting,
- Patient chest may feel closed,
- Lips and/or finger nails may have a bluish tint,
- In acute severe asthma patient may feel agitated, confused, or an inability to concentrate.
- Patient may hunch his shoulders, sit or stand up to breathe more easily, and strain the abdominal and neck muscles.
- These are signs of an impending respiratory system failure.
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