The severity of the symptoms in adults may vary greatly. Some people may only suffer a mild breathing problem, while others may experience severe symptoms that warrant a doctor’s intervention. It is uncommon for them to appear abruptly, as they usually have a tendency to develop within hours or days of exposure to the trigger.
- Most asthma attacks are characterized with wheezing while breathing out. As wheezing and rapid breathing becomes more severe, all the respiratory muscles become visibly active.
- Shortness of breath is another common symptom experienced. The severity does not necessarily imply the damage to the bronchial tubes. In fact, many people are not even aware that they are experiencing shortness of breath. Such people are at a greater risk of developing a life-threatening condition. Mostly, women in the age group of 50 to 60 fall in this category.
- Coughing is also experienced by many asthma patients, who find it particularly distressing. Incessant, nonproductive coughing can interfere with the sleeping pattern of the person.
- A sudden, unexplained chest tightness may be an early indicator of an approaching severe asthma attack. About three quarters of patients also report chest pain
- Another symptom includes stiffening of the neck muscles, which makes it impossible for the person to talk.
- An asthma attack is also characterized by sweating and rapid heart rate.
It is diagnosed on the basis of the medical history of the patient. A breathing test is also performed, in which the amount of air inhaled and exhaled is measured with a device called spirometer. Certain other tests are also effective in measuring the performance of the air passages. Lung X-rays may also be helpful in diagnosis. The symptoms and treatment of bronchial asthma are often in accordance with the test results. These symptoms may occur anywhere, anytime. Hence, if you have a known allergy to an irritant, take due precautions if you get exposed to that particular irritant.