Signs and Symptoms of Asthma

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Asthma - Signs and Symptoms

Imagine driving through a wide tunnel, and suddenly, traffic bottlenecks, disrupting the smooth journey – that’s akin to the flow of air for someone with asthma. The slow air flow is caused by reactive airways that narrow. Symptoms like wheezing, coughing, breathlessness, and chest constriction are a result of sudden inflammation and narrowing of airways.

These symptoms rise and recede, much like the ebb and flow of waves. Triggers such as exercise, exposure to icy winds, or inhaling allergens tend to aggravate the symptoms. It’s similar to the burning sensation in your lungs when running on a chilly day. The symptoms, much like a volatile storm, tend to intensify at certain times and unexpectedly resolve upon retreating from the trigger or taking asthma medication.

It’s vital to remember that certain individuals show symptoms only upon exposure to specific occupational substances, a situation comparable to food allergies. 

Meanwhile, a personal or familial history of atopy or childhood asthma elevates the probability of developing asthma. It’s as if a genetic predisposition towards allergies or asthma is a legacy, much like a treasured recipe passed down the generations.

Conversely, specific features like non-improved symptoms post medication, symptoms onset post 50 years, history of smoking or associated chest pain, and fainting incidents, point towards a lesser likelihood of asthma. It’s like forcing a square peg into a round hole – these signs don’t fit the typical asthma narrative. 

Understanding and recognizing the physical signs is like playing Sherlock Holmes, looking for evidence that either corroborates or contradicts the asthma diagnosis. These signs can be as diverse as varied wheezes (comparable to the squeaky door hinge), swollen nasal membranes (similar to a swollen ankle), or skin rashes. However, not all cases replicate the same symptoms – much like the variety in a batch of fresh apples, hence the need to evaluate all features, traits, and personal experiences to form an accurate diagnosis.

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