Asthma by : Julia Bragg
What are the most common symptoms of asthma?
Asthma symptoms are not the same for everyone. They can even change from episode to episode in the same person. Also, you may have only one symptom of asthma, such as cough, but another person may have all the symptoms of asthma. It is important to know all the symptoms of asthma and to be aware that your asthma can present in any of these ways at any time.
The most common symptoms include:
* Coughing, especially at night
* Shortness of breath
* Chest tightness, pain, or pressure
What causes asthma?
The airways in a person with asthma are very sensitive and react to many things, or "triggers." Contact with these triggers causes asthma symptoms. One of the most important parts of asthma control is to identify your triggers and then avoid them when possible. The only trigger you do not want to avoid is exercise. Pre-treatment with medicines before exercise can allow you to stay active yet avoid asthma symptoms.
Common asthma triggers include:
* Infections (colds, viruses, flu, sinus infections)
* Weather (changes in temperature and/or humidity, cold air)
* Tobacco smoke
* Allergens (dust mites, pollens, pets, mold spores, cockroaches, and sometimes foods)
* Irritants (strong odors from cleaning products, perfume, wood smoke, air pollution)
* Strong emotions such as crying or laughing hard
* Some medications
How is asthma diagnosed?
To diagnose asthma, your doctor will first review your medical history, family history, and symptoms. Your doctor will want to know any past history of breathing problems you may have had, as well as a family history of asthma, allergies, eczema (a bumpy, itchy skin rash caused by allergies), or other lung disease. It is important that you describe your symptoms in detail (cough, wheeze, shortness of breath, chest tightness), including when and how often they...