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As mentioned before, different people experience asthma in different ways. Some may find that it only flares up occasionally, if at all, whilst others may have frequent asthma attacks with little they can do to control them. These people may also be constantly presenting some of the more common signs and symptoms, which include wheezing when breathing, breathlessness, either persistent or irregular coughing and a tight or heavy chest. If we go back to the anatomy of what happens in people with asthma, the narrowing of the airway and over-production of mucous can attest to all of these signs and symptoms, signs and symptoms which seem like they could be a part of many different problems, which is true. However, it is when they become persistent, are significantly worse at night and in the morning, or happen around a certain trigger such as dust or exercise, where it may be indicative of asthma.

I have already also talked about asthma attacks, and the signs and symptoms are typically similar to those previously mentioned – just on a much more extreme scale. People suffering from an asthma attack become too breathless to do simple activities such as eating, drinking or speaking, and the pain in their chest also makes this extremely tough. In this stage, they will be getting more and more visibly distressed, and as such, their fight or flight responses may kick in as well. Vasoconstriction – the narrowing of blood vessels at the top of the skin – may make them appear to look pale. Also, they may have slightly dilated pupils, sweaty palms and start to shake. These are all effects of the sympathetic nervous system, caused by the hormone adrenaline.

Should the asthma attack continue to worsen, the person will deteriorate further and this is seen when they start to have an altered mental state, for example, they may become dizzy, drowsy or confused. They may also start to have blue lips and extremities, or even pass out. In extreme cases, an asthma attack can be fatal.