Asthma is a chronic lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. It affects an estimated 25 million people in the United States, and while it’s often diagnosed in childhood, asthma can strike for the first time in adulthood. What’s more, the signs aren’t always obvious.
Board-certified internal medicine physician Prabhdeep Singh, MD, and our team of wellness professionals provide top-quality health care to the El Centro, California community. Helping you and your family stay well is our top priority. If you or a loved one has asthma symptoms or problems breathing, it’s time for a checkup.
What is an asthma attack?
If you’ve ever had an asthma attack, you know just how frightening it can feel. An asthma attack is a sudden worsening of symptoms brought on by inflammation and constriction. It’s often described as feeling like someone is sitting on your chest. Breathing becomes difficult, and the chest tightens. This sets off a series of physiological events that include increased heart rate and rapid breathing.
Everyone diagnosed with asthma needs a comprehensive treatment plan to address sudden attacks, reduce the risk of attacks, and maintain good lung health. If you suspect your breathing troubles are asthma-related, check out our round-up of five signs to look out for.
Symptom #1: Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is the hallmark of asthma, but it’s also a symptom of other lung diseases. That’s why it’s crucial to schedule a visit with Dr. Singh to have your lung health evaluated.
Some patients with asthma find that exercise worsens their symptoms. It’s also possible to have exercise-induced asthma, which is triggered only by exercise.
The good news is that most patients with asthma can exercise without problems. The first step is to work with a provider to get your asthma well-controlled.
Symptoms #2: Coughing
Frequent coughing, especially at night, is common in patients with asthma. If your cough is accompanied by additional asthma symptoms like wheezing, shortness, or chest tightness, it's more likely to be asthma.
It’s a good idea to keep a record of your symptoms, when they occur, and any identified triggers. This helps to point toward or away from asthma as the root cause.
Symptom #3: Chest tightness
It may feel like you have a band tightening around your chest if you have asthma. This can make it difficult to fully breathe in deeply. It’s also common to experience a dull ache or stabbing sensation in the chest. Don’t ignore signs like these. Anytime you experience chest pains or trouble breathing, an evaluation is needed.
Symptom #4: Wheezing
Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound that occurs when you breathe. In patients with asthma, this sound often occurs when you exhale. You may notice wheezing in relation to certain triggers, such as allergens in the air. Patients with asthma are more likely to have allergies to pollen, dust, mold, and grass. Even if you don't hear a whistling sound, you may have asthma, so don't wait to see a doctor.
Symptom #5: Trouble sleeping
Did you know that asthma and sleep problems often go hand-in-hand? 40% of people with asthma experience symptoms every night, and 75% of people with asthma have symptoms that awaken them at least once a week. If you’re tossing and turning, coughing at night, and having a hard time getting a good night’s sleep, it’s a good idea to stop in to see us.
Don’t ignore signs of asthma or breathing problems in general. We can help you get to the bottom of your symptoms. Get started today by calling our El Centro office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Singh or book online at your convenience. We look forward to helping you feel and breathe better!