Asthma Symptoms and Causes

Do you think that you might have asthma?

We’re here to help you understand what causes asthma and what symptoms you should look out for.

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What causes asthma?

It is hard to say for sure what causes asthma, however we do know that someone is more likely to develop the condition is they:

  • have a family history of asthma, eczema or allergies
  • have eczema or an allergy, such as hay fever (an allergy to pollen)
  • had bronchiolitis (a common childhood lung infection) as a child
  • were born prematurely and/or had a low birth weight.

It’s also thought that the lifestyle choices that we make including our housing, diet and hygiene practices may contribute to the causes of asthma. Smoking during pregnancy or exposing your child to cigarette smoke early on also increases their risk of developing asthma.

Do you think that your child has asthma? Typical symptoms of asthma in children include coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing and chest tightness. It’s important that you talk to your GP or one of our Pharmacists if you have noticed that these symptoms are:

  • frequent
  • worse at night or early in the morning
  • happening after your child has come into contact with an asthma trigger - to find out more about asthma triggers visit our page here
  • still happening when your child doesn’t have a cold

It is also helpful if you keep a diary of your child’s symptoms, noting down the time of day that they appear and whether
you have identified any triggers

Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed or have lived with the condition for many years, it’s important to understand the symptoms of asthma so you can best manage them.

Symptoms can include:

Coughing
A persistent cough is a common symptom. It may be dry or contain mucus and get worse at night, or after exercise.

Wheezing
Wheezing is a whistling sound that happens when you exhale. It results from air being forced through narrow, constricted air passages.

Difficulty breathing
Breathing may become difficult if your airways become inflamed and constricted.This can make you feel anxious, which in itself can make breathing more difficult.

Chest tightness
As the muscles surrounding your airways constrict, your chest may tighten. This can feel like someone is tightening a rope around your upper torso.

Fatigue
During an asthma attack, less oxygen gets to the lungs, blood and muscles. Without oxygen, fatigue sets in. If your asthma symptoms are worse at night and you have trouble sleeping, you could feel tired during the day.

Nasal flaring Nasal flaring is the enlargement and stretching of the nostrils during breathing. It’s often a sign of difficulty breathing. This asthma symptom is most common in younger children and infants.

Sighing
Sighing is a natural physiological response when the lungs expand to full capacity. Because asthma can constrict air flow into your body, you might sigh to get excess air into or out of your body.

Anxiety
Anxiety can trigger an asthma attack, or be a symptom of an asthma attack. As your airways start to narrow, your chest tightens and breathing becomes difficult, which can generate anxiety. Being in a stressful situation can also sometimes trigger asthma symptoms.
Source: Healthline

Rapid breathing
If you’re taking a breath every two seconds while at rest, it’s advised to get medical attention.This is also applicable if you notice your child is breathing more rapidly than normal.

Retractions
More common in children than adults, retractions occur when the skin and muscles at the base of the throat retract or sink in with each breath. This is a sign that someone is having difficulty breathing, and it’s often caused by asthma.

Workout fatigue
If you have exercise-induced asthma symptoms, speak to your GP about taking medication before you work out. Warming up, cooling down, and staying hydrated can also help.

Indigestion
While not a symptom of asthma itself, acid reflux can trigger asthma symptoms and irritate your respiratory airways. Speak to your Pharmacist for advice about avoiding certain foods, or taking medication to alleviate it.
Source: Everyday Health (March 2017)

There isn’t a single test to find out whether you have asthma or another lung condition. When GPs assess patients who are experiencing breathlessness, a cough or other respiratory symptoms, they perform a breathing test to determine how well the lungs are functioning. This involves measuring the amount of air that can be forcefully exhaled from a full breath, through a device called a spirometer.

Book an appointment with our Respiratory Support Service. It’s completely FREE and confidential, giving you expert advice on how you can help relieve your symptoms. We also give you tips on how to improve your inhaler technique, giving you more confidence to manage your asthma.

Request an Appointment

Not everyone that has asthma will experience asthma attacks, but it’s important to know he early signs as well as how
you can best avoid your triggers.

Asthma attack symptoms include:

  • Severe coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Fatigue
  • Itchiness
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability

Severe asthma attack can be life threatening. So, don’t hesitate to call 999 for an ambulance if a reliever inhaler fails to work after 10 to 15 minutes, or if any of the following symptoms appear:

  • Discoloured (blue or grey) lips, face, or nails
  • Extreme difficulty breathing, in which the neck and chest may be “sucked in” with each breath
  • Difficulty talking or walking
  • Mental confusion
  • Extreme anxiety caused by breathing difficulty
  • Fever of 100°F (37.7°C) or higher
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid pulse

Source: Healthline

Respiratory Support Service

Our Respiratory Support Service is completely FREE and confidential, giving you expert advice on how you can help relieve your symptoms. We also give you tips on how to improve your inhaler technique, giving you more confidence to manage your asthma.

Respiratory Support Service

Online Doctor

You can keep on top of your condition with our Online Doctor Service. We can provide you with the preventer and reliever inhalers you need for either same day collection or next day delivery.

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