Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Symptoms of asthma develop as a result of the narrowing and inflammation of the airways. Wheezing is a characteristic symptom of asthma, along with shortness of breath. Chest pain or tightness can accompany an asthma attack. Coughing can also be a symptom of asthma. The cough associated with asthma is often worse at night or in the early morning. Nighttime cough can lead to problems with sleep.
Symptoms vary among affected individuals. Some people have mild symptoms that occur infrequently, while others have more frequent or more severe symptoms. Severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening.
Causes of asthma
Asthma is a disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the airways. The inflammation results in narrowing of the airways and difficulty breathing. The precise cause of asthma is unknown, although it is believed to result from an interaction between inherited (genetic) and environmental factors. Those with a family history of asthma are more likely to develop the condition than those without a family history. Other risk factors for asthma include obesity, viral respiratory illness during childhood, exposure to tobacco smoke, and hay fever.
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Asthma." Jan. 27, 2017. <http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/faqs.htm>.
Main Article on Asthma Symptoms and Signs
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
10 Worst Asthma Cities in the U. S. in Pictures
Do you live in one of the 10 worst cites for asthma? There is no such thing as an asthma-free city, but some are more difficult...
Asthma Attack Signs, Treatments, and Prevention
Look at the anatomy of an asthma attack. See these warning signs and symptoms to avoid an asthma emergency such as a persistent...
Asthma Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways of the lungs, which can be managed with proper treatment. Triggered by two main...
Asthma Symptoms, Causes, and Medications
What is asthma? Learn about asthma, a chronic inflammation disorder of the bronchiole tubes (airways). Discover information about...
What is Asthma? Asthma Myths Debunked
There is currently no cure for asthma, and no specific, single cause for asthma has been identified. Take this quiz on asthma...
Worst Smog Cities in Pictures: Air Pollution, Ozone, and Asthma
Learn the worst smog cities in America. See the 10 cities with the most polluted, unclean and smoggy air....
Other Causes of Asthma Symptoms and Signs
Examples of Medications for Asthma Symptoms and Signs
- Advair Diskus, Advair HFA (fluticasone and salmeterol oral inhaler)
- albuterol (Accuneb, Ventolin & Proventil [all discontinued])
- beclomethasone hfa inhaler - oral, Qvar
- budesonide (oral inhalation, Pulmicort, Pulmicort Flexhaler)
- budesonide nasal inhaler (Rhinocort Allergy, Rhinocort Aqua)
- flunisolide - oral inhalation, Aerobid
- flunisolide nasal spray, Aerospan (Nasalide, Aerobid, Aerobid HFA are discontinued)
- fluticasone propionate oral inhaler, Flovent (Discontinued), Flovent Diskus, Flovent HFA
- formoterol powder in capsule - oral inhalation, Foradil
- ipratropium bromide inhaler, Atrovent, Atrovent HFA
- ipratropium solution - inhalation, Atrovent
- levalbuterol pre-mixed solution - inhalation, Xopenex
- metaproterenol inhaler - oral, Alupent
- methylprednisolone, Medrol, Depo-Medrol, Solu-Medrol
- montelukast, Singulair
- omalizumab, Xolair
- pirbuterol breath activated aerosol inhaler - oral, Maxair Autohaler
- prednisone (Prednisone Intensol, Rayos) Corticosteroid
- salmeterol, Serevent
- theophylline, Elixophyllin, Theo-24, (Theolair, Uniphyl Theo-Dur, and Slo-Phyllin-discontinued)
- zafirlukast (Accolate)
- zileuton - oral, Zyflo
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Allergy and Asthma Newsletter