Early Asthma Warning Signs and When to See a Doctor


An asthma attack is a temporary severe asthmatic episode generated by the constriction of muscles surrounding the airways. This tightening is called bronchospasm; there are two types of asthma, so with emphysema, asthmatics have hyper-sensitive tubes. In asthma, during an attack, the nerve sensitivity and structure of the airway lining also change and thicker mucus than normal is produced. This results in bronchospasm and mucus, therefore developing symptoms of an asthma attack, which include difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing, short breathiness, etc, Restricted from any physical mobilization.

Early Asthma Warning Signs

Symptoms are signs that appear prior to, during or immediately following an asthma attack and include early indications of the attack. Thus, it may begin before the characteristic wheezing and coughing define asthma; these are the first indications of an asthma flare.

Overall, these signs do not reach unhealthy levels, and in any case, you will not be bedridden. Thus, majors will be fine. But if you are aware of these, you can avoid an asthma attack or even if one starts, it can be controlled. Early warning signs of an asthma attack include:

  • Frequent cough, especially at night
  • Losing your breath easily or shortness of breath
  • Feeling very tired or weak when exercising
  • Wheezing or coughing after exercise
  • Feeling tired, easily upset, irritable, or moody
  • Decreases or changes in lung function as measured on a peak flow meter
  • Signs of a cold or allergies (sneezing, runny nose, cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, and headache)
  • Trouble sleeping

If you have these warning signs, adjust your medication as your asthma action plan describes.


Symptoms of an Asthma Attack

An asthma attack is when groups of muscles around the airways are contracted. This tightening is termed a bronchospasm. In an attack, the tissues that expire in the airway lining may become inflamed, and the cells in the lining of the airway secrete more mucus than they should.

These conditions include constriction of the air passages through bronchospasm, inflammation of lung tissue, and mucus production resulting in features like breathlessness, whistling sound in the chest, coughing, chest cracking, and getting out of breath, among others relating to the performance of daily activities. Other symptoms of an asthma attack include:

  • Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
  • Coughing that won’t stop
  • Very rapid breathing
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Tightened neck and chest muscles, called retractions
  • Difficulty talking
  • Feelings of anxiety or panic
  • Pale, sweaty face
  • Blue lips or fingernails

Asthma can be a life-threatening condition as the severity of an asthma attack may worsen in a few minutes, and it is well advised to treat these asthma symptoms once you observe them.

lungsIf you do not get medical attention within minutes, your breathing passages will narrow, and you will require your asthma inhaler or bronchodilator to breathe correctly. Today, if you use a peak flow meter, its reading will likely be below 50 per cent. It must be noted that all asthma action plans should involve interventions from as early as 80% of a patient’s normal functioning.

The final stage in the progression of lung damage is when they progressively close to the point at which you are unable to use the peak flow meter. The strong muscles in the human body will slowly stiffen the lungs and close the airway, making any wheezing impossible. Depending on the severity of these symptoms, you should be taken to the hospital as soon as possible. Sadly, some folks think that the stoppage of wheezing means it is okay and never seek urgent treatment.

a womanIf you fail to get this treatment somehow, you will no longer be able to speak, and your lips will turn blue. This change of colour is termed cyanosis, which indicates that your body has less and less oxygen in the blood. If emergency treatment for this kind of asthma attack is not sought and administered urgently, this can lead to passing out and even death.

If this is the case and you start developing an asthma attack, go to the Red Zone or use the emergency section provided in the asthma action plan. These are symptoms of a life-threatening asthmatic episode. Asthma is a chronic condition of the respiratory system characterized by inflammation of the airways, spasms of the smooth muscles around the bronchioles, and decreased ability to move air in and out of the lungs. You require treatment from a doctor; this is not a joke.


Asthma Symptoms in Children

Asthma is one of the most common diseases and courses through as much as 10 to 12 per cent of children who reside in the United States. In the United States, asthma is the most frequent chronic illness in children. Although the reasons for having asthmatic children are still unknown, the number of children suffering from this ailment is on the rise. Asthma in children does not have a specific age, although many children experience their first instance before they are five.

a child


Unusual Asthma Symptoms

Not everyone with asthma has the usual symptoms of cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Sometimes, individuals have unusual asthma symptoms that may not appear to be related to asthma. Some “unusual” asthma symptoms may include the following:

  • rapid breathing
  • sighing
  • fatigue
  • inability to exercise correctly (called exercise-induced asthma)
  • difficulty sleeping or nighttime asthma
  • anxiety
  • chronic cough without wheezing

Also, asthma symptoms can be mimicked by other conditions such as bronchitis, vocal cord dysfunction, and even heart failure.

medical specialists

It’s essential to understand your body. Talk with your asthma doctor and others with asthma. Be aware that asthma may not always have the same symptoms in every person.


Why Infections Trigger Asthma Symptoms

Occasionally, the cause is a virus or bacterial infection that affects the lungs and triggers an asthma attack. For instance, you might have a cold virus that leads to the occurrence of asthma symptoms in your body. Or your asthma can be caused by bacterial sinus inflammation. Asthma is often seen in patients with sinusitis.


Some symptoms of respiratory tract infections include coughing, sneezing, chest discomfort, and shortness of breath, and you should consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

For example, you may experience more shortness of breath, problems breathing or wheezing if you have a bronchial infection. In normal individuals, the bronchial infection may not cause severe conditions like those experienced in an asthmatic attack.

Be in tune with your body and be aware of early signs that an infection may be developing. Then, take the proper medications as prescribed to get rid of the infection and regain control of asthma and health.


What if an Asthma Attack Goes Untreated?

If you don’t have quick-relief asthma medicine and treatment, your breathing may be even more complex, and the wheezing may become louder. If you use a peak flow meter during an asthma attack, your result will likely be below your personal best.

In the course of an asthma attack, your lungs will become progressively constricted, and you might not be able to use the peak flow meter at all. Eventually, during an asthma attack, the lungs may constrict to the extent of no air movement, which causes wheezing. This is also known as the ‘silent chest’ and is a sign that one should be wary of. You have to be rushed to a hospital as soon as possible when you have a severe asthma attack. Call 911 for help.

a car on the road

However, some believe that the reduction or absence of wheezing during the asthma attack means the patient is improving and does not seek appropriate emergency care.


Risk Factors of Asthma

Asthma risk factors encompass a variety of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle elements that can increase an individual’s likelihood of developing the condition. Genetic predisposition plays a significant role; having a family history of asthma or other allergic conditions like hay fever or eczema elevates the risk. Environmental factors such as exposure to allergens (e.g., pollen, pet dander, and dust mites), air pollution, and secondhand smoke can trigger or exacerbate asthma symptoms. Occupational exposure to irritants like chemicals, fumes, and dust is a notable risk factor.

a woman in front of TV set

Lifestyle factors, including obesity and sedentary behaviour, contribute to the development and severity of asthma. Respiratory infections, particularly during early childhood, can also damage lung tissue and lead to asthma. A history of allergies or other atopic diseases further increases susceptibility.

Understanding these risk factors is essential for early detection and efficacious asthma management, enabling individuals to take preventive measures and reduce their exposure to potential triggers.


When to See a Doctor for Asthma

You should see a doctor for asthma if you experience frequent shortness of breath, persistent coughing, wheezing, or chest tightness, particularly if these symptoms disrupt your daily activities or sleep. Immediate medical attention is necessary if symptoms worsen rapidly, if you have difficulty speaking, or if using your rescue inhaler provides no relief.



Understanding and recognizing asthma’s symptoms and early warning signs is crucial for effectively managing and preventing severe attacks. By being aware of indicators such as shortness of breath, persistent coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and fatigue, individuals can take timely action to manage their condition. Identifying and addressing risk factors further enhances control over asthma.

Regular consultations with healthcare providers ensure appropriate treatment and monitoring, helping those with asthma lead active, healthy lives while minimizing the impact of this chronic respiratory condition.

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