Asthma Home > Asthma Symptoms

Coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath are common symptoms of asthma. Certain activities may also trigger symptoms in people with the condition, such as running or cycling. Symptoms vary among people. If you believe you are experiencing possible symptoms, you should see your doctor, as these may be symptoms of other conditions as well.

Asthma Symptoms: An Overview

Common asthma symptoms include:
  • Coughing. Coughing resulting from asthma is often worse at night or early in the morning, making it hard to sleep.
  • Chest tightness. This can feel like something is squeezing or sitting on your chest.
  • Wheezing. Wheezing is a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe.
  • Shortness of breath. Some people say they can't catch their breath, or they feel breathless or out of breath. You may feel like you can't get enough air into or out of your lungs.
  • Faster breathing or noisy breathing. A person with asthma may breathe faster or louder than normal, especially during an asthma attack.
People may also have symptoms of asthma that include:
  • Frequent coughing, especially at night (sometimes, this is the only sign of asthma in a child)
  • Wheezing when they have a cold or other illness
  • Symptoms brought on by exercises such as running, biking, or other brisk activity, especially during cold weather
  • Coughing or wheezing brought on by prolonged crying or laughing
  • Coughing or wheezing when near an allergen or irritant.
If you notice that you have these possible asthma symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider.

Things to Remember About Symptoms of Asthma

Not all people have these asthma symptoms, and symptoms can vary from one asthma attack to another. Symptoms can also differ in their severity: Sometimes, symptoms can be mildly annoying; other times, they can be serious enough to make you stop what you are doing. In some cases, symptoms of asthma can be so serious that they are life-threatening.
Symptoms also differ in how often they occur. Some people with asthma only have symptoms once every few months; others have symptoms every week. Still other people have asthma symptoms every day. With proper treatment, however, most people with the condition can expect to have few or no symptoms.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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