Breathing is essential to life, but it’s easy to take it for granted. If you feel like you occasionally cannot breathe well, you could have a condition called asthma.
Here are some of the symptoms to help you identify when an episode of breathing problems could be related to asthma. No two people have the same combination of asthma symptoms, but asthmatics experience at least one of these issues.
Having trouble breathing is the most common asthma symptom. Asthma patients may find it difficult to catch their breath or feel like they cannot get enough air into their lungs. Mucus may fill the person’s lungs and cause shortness of breath. Understandably, this combination of symptoms can lead to fear and high anxiety in those suffering from asthma.
Tightness in the Chest
A feeling of tightness in the chest is another symptom of asthma. Chest tightness related to asthma can feel like the lungs are being squeezed and may also cause neck muscles to feel tight. Some people with severe asthma may even have such painful chest tightness that they mistake it for a heart attack.
People experiencing an asthma attack often try to breathe through their noses, causing their nostrils to flare.
Coughing and Wheezing
When someone experiences an asthma attack, coughing and wheezing may accompany the struggle to breathe. Coughing may be worse at certain times, particularly at night. The reason asthma sufferers cough more at night is unknown. According to the American Lung Association, however, it may be because of allergens that cause post nasal drip. Also, adrenaline and corticosteroid levels, which protect against asthma, are at their lowest between two and four in the morning.1
Wheezing is also more likely to occur after exercise, which means that many people with asthma have difficulty with exercise and may avoid it.
If you are having difficulty breathing, the result is that enough oxygen does not get into your cells, which can lead to a constant feeling of tiredness and fatigue. If you regularly feel exhausted despite sleeping enough hours, it may be due to asthma. Also, along with frequent fatigue, many people with asthma report they suffer from insomnia.
Blue Lips and Fingernails
Blue lips and fingernails are also among common asthma symptoms. When a person cannot breathe well and fails to get enough oxygen into their blood, it causes their lips and nails to appear blue, which is a symptom of a potentially fatal condition called cyanosis. Once your blood has enough oxygen again, your lips and fingertips should return to a normal color. In either case, it’s important to see a physician and tell them about this symptom right away.