Asthma is a lung disease that causes repeated episodes of breathlessness, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. Those with asthma have airways that are extra sensitive to allergens and other irritants in the air.
The symptoms of asthma start when certain allergens or irritants cause the lining of the airway to become swollen and narrowed. The muscles around the airway then spasms, which causes the airway to narrow even more. In addition, when the lining of the airway gets inflamed, it produces mucus that clogs the airways and further blocks the flow of air, causing an “asthma attack.”
The symptoms of asthma can be mild to severe and often include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Asthma is often controlled by medication as well as avoiding certain environmental triggers that might cause an attack and make it worse.
However, make sure you seek emergency care right away if you develop any of the following symptoms:
- Your fingernails or lips turn blue
- Your rescue medication doesn’t relieve symptoms
- You experience extreme difficulty breathing, walking, or talking
- You have a rapid pulse
- Your nostrils flare when you breathe