When we think of asthma symptoms the following usually comes to mind- wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Those are the three most common asthma symptoms. When inflammation happens inside of our lungs, there are three main things that happen and a good way to remember is to use the SET acronym- Swelling, Excess mucus, and Tightness.
The lower airways begin to swell from the inflammation, create excess mucus and tighten which often times (but not always!) causes the wheezing sound you hear.
While these are very common asthma symptoms, not all asthma is created equal. Our lungs are all different. Just as we have different triggers and some of us have allergies and some do not; we react and our bodies respond to an asthma flare in different ways.
There are some unusual asthma symptoms you may have and may not even realize it. Or maybe you do and others around you might not. If you have a child with asthma keep an eye out for these potential symptoms as they might be a warning sign of a flare up if they are unable to tell you what is going on.
Yawning or Lots of Sighing
Excess yawning or sighing isn’t just a symptom of being tired. Asthmatics and people with respiratory diseases often times will do this subconsciously as a way to get more oxygen into the body and on the flip side more carbon dioxide out. And it also feels really good. As a matter of fact I’m yawning as I’m typing this right now and I bet you are too!
Chronic Dry Cough
This is a sign of cough variant asthma where the main symptom is a dry, non productive cough. For some people this is their only asthma symptom. This particular type of asthma is often times initially overlooked and can take time to be officially diagnosed. A person with this type of asthma responds well to bronchodilators and traditional asthma medications.
Asthmatics tend to have faster than normal breathing when having a flare up even in the early stages before the symptoms are obvious. It’s your body’s way of getting more oxygen in and ventilating better.
Feeling tired more often than usual isn’t as uncommon as one might think when it comes to asthma. Your body is working in overdrive to keep the body oxygenated when the lungs are inflamed. So even though you can’t necessarily feel it (although you might be able to) you CAN feel the effects it is having on your body as a whole, making you feel utterly exhausted. No matter how much sleep you get.
On the flip side, asthmatics sometimes can have trouble sleeping. Nocturnal asthma symptoms can play up and wake you up or prevent you from getting those hours of shut-eye you need to function on a daily basis.
Feeling anxious can come from lack of oxygen as well as not being able to focus and concentrate. Not being able to breathe makes us feel anxious as well so it is a vicious cycle.
Some people experience an itchy chin and throat before an asthma flare-up. This is generally associated with allergic asthma but not always.
Do you experience any unusual asthma symptoms? Like I have said before, asthma is not a one size fits all disease and we all experience different signs & symptoms, even unusual ones.