How do you know you have asthma? There are a number of common asthma symptoms. But they may vary from individual-to-individual.
Here is a list of asthma symptoms that many doctors consider before the diagnosis:
- A feeling of tightness in the chest
- Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath
- Coughing – depending on the type of asthma either dry cough or phlegm cough
- Fatigue – feeling sleepy for longer time and physical fatigue that doesn’t improve with sleep
- Moist skin – feeling sticky and hot
- Tachycardia – increased heart rate than normal level. You can determine it by simply taking the pulse in the wrist or neck.
All of these asthma symptoms will not come at the same time; you will experience these symptoms only during an asthmatic episode. If you have undergone asthma diagnosis or you think that you may have any asthma symptoms, occasionally you may feel short of breath with chest tightness. Due to this, you may feel nervous and thus increase in your heart rate.
Most of the asthma symptoms mentioned above are regularly experienced by asthmatics, however they are classified as secondary symptoms to the main asthma symptoms. For example, difficulty breathing due to the airway contraction and bronchioles in the lungs due to introduction to the irritant or causative agent are the symptoms.
Most of the asthma symptoms can be avoided by being prepared for an asthmatic episode. Always keep the inhaler with you. If you properly use it, you can get some relief from the symptoms. If you never undergone asthma diagnosis but you suffer from some of the above mentioned symptoms, then you should consult your doctor.
The above mentioned asthma symptoms can also be the characteristics of some other diseases, so you should be diagnosed as early as possible.
Asthma diagnosis consists of many tests depending on the severity and type of the symptoms from which you are suffering. Your doctor will consider the symptoms which you describe, yours and your family medical history and the reaction of your lungs and breathing to bronchodilators or medications.
Tests used in asthma diagnosis:
Lung function test: It can be used to determine an improvement in your breathing following the inhalation of bronchodilators. If there is more than 15 percent improvement in your breathing after diagnosis, then the possible condition is asthma.
Histamine test: This asthma test can be used to determine if your bronchioles are hyper-responsive to inhaled histamines. Histamines are the agents that can cause the allergic reaction and asthma. Histamine concentration is slowly increased until it shows any effect on the quality of your breathing and this concentration is used as the basis of diagnosis.
This test may not be suitable for asthmatics, since most of them are not sensitive to histamines.
Skin prick test: It is used to identify any of the allergens to which you may be sensitive as a result you may have asthma. Small amount of allergens are injected into the skin of the forearm and the area is observed for a reaction. If there is any swelling after 15 minutes, then your doctor will tell you that you don’t have asthma or you may have asthma which is triggered by some uncommon allergens.
There are some other asthma diagnosis tests such as x-rays, trial steroid treatment and peak flow measurement. You must undergo asthma diagnosis as soon as possible so that you can start immediate treatments.
Until your doctor completely understands the cause of asthma and how they influence the lung airways, he cannot suggest a treatment method. Though there is no cure for asthma symptoms, there are number of treatments that help in minimizing the symptoms when taken properly.