Asthma Symptoms

Asthma signs and symptoms can differ for each person. Find out what the most common asthma symptoms are and what causes them.

What Are Asthma Symptoms?

Asthma symptoms can differ for each person, but here are some of the most common:

  • Wheezing. You may notice a whistling sound when you breathe. Sometimes this happens only when you exercise or have a cold.
  • Frequent cough. This may be more common at night. You may or may not cough up mucus.
  • Shortness of breath. This is the feeling that you can't get enough air into your lungs. It may occur only once in a while, or often.
  • Chest tightness. Your chest may feel tight, especially during cold weather or exercise. This can also be the first sign of a flare-up.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

The sooner you begin treating your asthma and maintaining control, the less damage you will cause your lungs in the long run. 

There are many resources available for people living with asthma and their loved ones. To learn more about your asthma, visit one of the links below:

What Causes Asthma Symptoms?

For people with asthma, respiratory infections, allergens, chemicals, odors, physical activity, emotions, seasonal changes and smoking can irritate the lungs. We call these triggers because they cause (trigger) changes in the airways. Understanding what triggers your asthma will help you manage your disease. Work with your healthcare provider to identify the triggers that cause your asthma symptoms. Once you have identified your triggers, work on ways to avoid the trigger entirely or to limit your exposure to it.

View a list of the most common asthma triggers.

Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel.

Page last updated: November 28, 2022

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