Asthma: Know the Early Symptoms and Treatment

November 22, 2018

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What Are The Early Symptoms Of Asthma?

People suffering from asthma have symptoms when the air passages are swollen (inflamed), narrowed (bronchospasm), or filled with mucus.

Early warning signs are changes that happen right before or at the beginning of an asthma episode. These changes start before the common symptoms of asthma (coughing, wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightening) and are the earliest signs that the asthma may be worsening.

In general, these signs are not severe enough to stop a person from carrying out his or her daily activities. By recognizing these signs, you can stop an asthma episode or prevent one from worsening. Early warning signs include:

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Losing your breath easily or shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness, pain, or pressure
  • Feeling very tired or weak when exercising
  • Wheezing or coughing during or after exercise
  • Decreases or changes in a peak expiratory flow
  • Signs of a cold, upper respiratory infection, or allergies (sneezing, runny nose, cough, congestion, sore throat, and headache)
  • Trouble in sleeping

The symptoms might vary between one asthma episode and the other, being mild during one and extreme during another.

While there’s no way to prevent or cure asthma, by working together, you and your doctor can construct a plan to live with your condition by controlling the symptoms.

Asthma Medications

There are two basic types of drugs used in asthma treatment:

Steroids and Other Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

Anti-inflammatory drugs, especially inhaled steroids, are the most important treatment for most people with asthma. These life-saving medications prevent asthma attacks and operate by reducing swelling and mucus production in the airways. This makes the airways are less sensitive and less likely to react to triggers and cause symptoms.


Bronchodilators lessen the symptoms of asthma by relaxing the muscles that sometimes tighten around the airways. This causes the airways to open up.

Asthma Inhalers

Asthma inhalers are the most common and effective method to send asthma drugs to the lungs. They are available in different types that need different techniques for use. Some inhalers deliver one medication and others contain two different medications.

Asthma Nebulizer

If you’re having trouble using small inhalers, your doctor may prescribe an asthma nebulizer. This machine has a mouthpiece or mask and is usually used for infants and older adults, but they can be used for anyone who faces difficulty using inhalers with spacers. The nebulizer changes asthma medications from a liquid to a mist, so that they can be more smoothly inhaled into the lungs. This takes a few more minutes than using inhalers.

Additional Information!

If you have a serious asthma attack, your doctor may suggest a short course of oral corticosteroids. When used orally for less than two weeks, the side effects of corticosteroids are less likely, but when used for many months, they can have a serious and permanent effect. After the severe symptoms of your asthma attack have been successfully treated and controlled, your doctor will help to minimize your need for prednisone in the future. Faithfully taking an inhaled corticosteroid every day is the most commonly successful method to do this.