Asthma is one of those very common conditions that almost everyone has heard of, or knows of someone who is affected. Asthma can affect everyone – male or female, young or old – and it is a devastating condition which, in its worst form, can prove fatal. In fact, asthma is a disease which is described as being a chronic disease of the lungs which became inflamed and thus breathing becoming increasingly difficult. During an asthma attack the respiratory tract may become blocked or obstructed causing inflammation; and thus hyper responsiveness occurs.
The symptoms of asthma are very similar to those of general respiratory tract infections, bronchitis and emphysema and are there often overlooked by doctors when trying to make a diagnosis. It is, therefore, extremely important to tell your doctor if you suffer from any of the following 9 symptoms, so that a correct diagnosis – and then correct treatment – can be made.
• Wheezing is one of the most important symptoms in making a diagnosis of asthma, as this whistling sound indicates that the bronchi may be blocked or inflamed.
• Pursued lips and flared nostrils also differentiate asthma from the more common respiratory tract infections, in that these two symptoms indicate the great difficulty the patient is having in trying to get air into their lungs.
• A grayish or bluish tinge to the patient's lips and / or finger nails indicates a lack of oxygen – known as cyanosis – which is another indication of how serious the breathing problem is.
• The need to be listed in an upright position during an attack is another indication of asthma, as in such a position the lungs are not compressed, thus giving them a larger overall area to absorb the scarce amounts of oxygen being able to be drawn into the lungs.
• Perspiring or sweating indicates the huge amount of difficulty and exertion the patient has to put into getting air some at least some air into his or her lungs.
• A rapid pulse rate is a symptom of asthma, again caused by the exertion of breathing, but this is not a symptom of more common respiratory tract infections.
• Having a persistent cough could have been a symptom of many diseases or disorders of the respiratory tract, but when combined with all the other symptoms of asthma, it is one of the known pointers.
• The feeling of tightness across the chest area is another symptom which could relate to all kinds of respiratory tract infections but, again, when linked to all the other asthma symptoms, helps to pull the diagnosis together.
• Clearly, difficulty in breathing is one of the clearest indications of asthma, but it is another symptom with widespread connotations.
It is to be noted that people who suffer from allergies, children from the age of five years to adolescents of up to seventeen years, and anyone in the general population who is over the age of sixty five are all at a greater risk of having an asthma attack.