Asthma is a very common condition among adults and children alike. Asthma signs and symptoms can range from the very mild to severe. In fact, most people think that they just have a cold or some allergic reaction to something. What they do not know is that they have asthma, and undiagnosed asthma could lead to very serious complications that could be life-threatening.

Asthma is a condition where the bronchioles swell and narrow, causing a difficulty in breathing. This “swelling and narrowing” may be caused by a variety of triggering factors: pollen, dust, smoke, exercise, and other nonspecific causes. There are a lot of misconceptions that surround asthma, and the best way to clear all those would be to consult with your doctor.

Familiarizing yourself with the signs and symptoms of asthma will be a great way to spot the disease early. The earlier you get treatment, the greater are your chances of controlling the disease. As I have stated earlier – complications can be life-threatening. Outlined below will be some of the most common asthma signs and symptoms:

• Coughing that gets worsens at night. It could also be triggered by exercise and exposure to cold air.

• Shortness of breath when exerting effort.

• Tightness in the chest area. A patient once even likened it to a vise that prevents your chest from fully expanding and taking in a healthy amount of oxygen.

• Wheezing is considered to be the tell-tale sign of asthma. It is a sound that is made when exhaling and is almost like whistling or hissing. In some cases, it can only be detected by listening to the lungs through a stethoscope. In other more serious cases, you can easily hear it.

For some people, they might just exhibit milder forms of the condition, while others would need immediate medical attention. It is important to get diagnosed as early as possible so that you will be given the needed medication to control your symptoms.

In diagnosing asthma, you doctor will be looking into your family history for anyone who is experiencing asthma. It is a hereditary condition, so if one of you family members has asthma, there is a great possibility that you will have one too. On top of that, you will have to undergo a physical exam and a series of lung function tests. The physical exam will involve testing for allergies since allergies can trigger asthma attacks.

As mentioned earlier, asthma complications can be life-threatening. This condition is called status asthmaticus. In the event of status asthmaticus, the patient no longer responds to the usual round of bronchodilators and even steroids. This is considered as a medical emergency and can lead to cardiac or respiratory arrest.

A lot of people seem to think that asthma can be outgrown and that is it a condition limited only to children. This is not only false but also inaccurate. Asthma can not be outgrown. The symptoms may be controlled for some time but once the medication is stopped, triggering factors and allergens could cause the onset of asthma again.

If you seem to think that you may have asthma, it is very important to have it checked immediately.