How Do You Know if You Have Asthma?

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If you sometimes have difficulty breathing, you may wonder how to know if you have asthma. Making that determination can be challenging. However, it’s important that you do because that will allow you to get the proper treatment. Learning about the condition can give you insight on how to tell if you have asthma. You should also talk with your doctor.

The Basics: How to Tell if You Have Asthma

Asthma is caused by inflammation in the airways. This swelling can be caused by a number of triggers such as cigarette smoke, pollen, animal dander, mold, or even just cold air.

The inflammation is accompanied by tightening of the muscles around the airways, and the combination of these factors makes it hard to breathe, especially during what’s called an “asthma attack.”

The five main symptoms of asthma are:

  • Trouble breathing or shortness of breath. This is the feeling that you can’t catch your breath. It is an alarming sensation, and it may come on suddenly. It makes it difficult to perform physical activities. 
  • Tightness in the chest. People with asthma describe this as an unpleasant feeling that air isn’t moving in their lungs or an uncomfortable restriction in their chest. This symptom can cause anxiety about the ability to get enough air.
  • Wheezing sounds when breathing. This type of whistling sound is the symptom most people associate with asthma. It’s heard most clearly when exhaling.
  • Coughing fits. Coughing associated with asthma is more common at night. Coughing fits can also be brought on by exercise. 
  • Poor sleep due to breathing problems. Difficulty breathing can make it hard to sleep. Consequently, people with asthma may feel tired during the day.

When to See a Doctor for Asthma

Once you understand how to detect asthma and start to see signs like frequent bouts of wheezing, shortness of breath or coughing, you should talk with your doctor or an asthma specialist. They can perform tests to determine if you actually have the condition or if something else is causing your breathing issues.

If you do have asthma, there are medications you can take to control it and to address asthma attacks if they occur.

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