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Unusual Asthma Symptoms.

Unusual Asthma Symptoms

It’s often said that asthma is a heterogeneous disease. This means that asthma affects each of us in unique ways. A part of this “uniqueness” means that some of us will feel unusual asthma symptoms. So, what are “unusual” asthma symptoms? Here’s what to know.

What are the usual asthma symptoms?

Asthma is a strange disease. By this, we mean that on most days you should feel no symptoms at all. But, asthmatic airways are said to be hypersensitive. This means they are chronically inflamed. There is some small degree of airway inflammation. This makes airways over-sensitive, or hypersensitive. A simpler way of wording this may be to say that your airways are “twitchy.”

On good asthma days, your airways are open. This means you can breathe normally. Your lung function should be normal or close to normal. But, when exposed to your asthma triggers, your “hypersensitive airways “over-react.” This chronic underlying airway inflammation gets worse. This causes asthma symptoms. This is called an asthma attack. Normal symptoms are as follows:

  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

You can Google just about any website and read about these symptoms. But, that’s not what we are looking at here. Today, we are interested in the unusual. So, this brings us to the question of the day:

What are unusual asthma symptoms?

These are symptoms that are not felt by all asthmatics. These are the symptoms that make you unique. They are things only felt by some people with asthma.

Here are some unusual asthma symptoms.

  • Itchy chin
  • Itchy throat
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Fatigue/sighing
  • Fast breathing
  • Anxiety (worrying)
  • A chronic cough (it’s always there)
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • A runny nose
  • Itchy nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Moodiness (grumpy)
  • A headache
  • Trouble exercising
  • Trouble staying active

So, this is a list of uncommon asthma symptoms. You may experience some of these. The reason that symptoms vary from asthmatic to asthmatic is that we are all different. It’s also because there are different subgroups of asthma.

People with severe asthma may experience insomnia. They may feel fatigue during the day. They feel these along with usual asthma symptoms. This may explain why they might feel anxiety. People with Cough-Variant Asthma may have a dry hacking cough. It may seem to always be there. People with allergic asthma may get a runny nose. They may experience an itchy or scratchy throat.

What to make of this?

Many times, these symptoms appear before you have an attack. This makes it nice because they can be used as early warning symptoms and signs of asthma. They are warnings that an asthma attack is impending. This is nice, because they, in essence, are telling you that the actions you take right now can prevent an all-out asthma attack. This is how your asthma communicates with you.

So, how does this article relate to you? Do you ever experience any of these unusual asthma symptoms? Are there any other symptoms unlisted here that are unique to you? Please let us know in the comments below.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Katrina1960
    3 months ago

    I have experienced several of the unusual symptoms above, but also have had:
    Throat clearing
    Very itchy upper back and lungs
    Flushed face
    Watery eyes
    Feeling restless
    And thirsty
    Cigarette smoke is my usual trigger. But a cold, campfire or fireplace smoke, and most recently household cleaning supplies have all caused my asthma attacks.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    3 months ago

    Hi Katrina1960, and thanks for joining in the conversation here. We appreciate you sharing the symptoms you’ve experienced with asthma with the community. We are grateful for your input. Leon (site moderator)

  • BBdgh
    1 year ago

    It’s nice to see that these are common/uncommon symptoms, I have almost all these float in and out throughout the day. Wonder if anyone has a hoarse voice as a symptom? Mine comes and goes, but is fairly persistent. Anyone else?

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi again, BBdgh and thanks for this post. I do remember reading other members’ comments in which they spoke of a ‘hoarseness’ accompanying their condition. Doing a quick search of our article base, there are a few publications in which it is mentioned. Please take a look at the results of the search here: I hope you find it to be helpful. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • ladyjanenz
    1 year ago

    I have noticed over the last few years,I get what feels like muscular pain as if I have pulled a muscle midway back ribs ,after about 7 days it goes and suddenly my asthma gets worse ,this happened recently only twigged when pain had resolved regconised previous episodes and Asthma/ chest infection kicked in and I had 4 nights in hospital . Mentioned to my Doctors but they say it’s unusual not sure either what if anything can be done .

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi ladyjanenz and thanks for your post. This article by our own John Bottrell has stimulated a lot of discussion! It seems so many of our members have experience with their own unusual symptoms related to asthma. We appreciate you sharing yours with the community. Wishing you well, Leon (site moderator)

  • RitaRe
    1 year ago

    My cough has gotten to be really dramatic. Loud, persistent, and uncooperative. Even when I use the rescue inhaler, I can end up with coughing fits that make my chest feel like it’s burning. It can be exhausting. It feels like I am sick all the time. It’s frustrating.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi RitaRe and thanks for your post. We understand exactly what you’re going through and just how frustrating it can be. Are you being followed by a physician? For symptoms which persist and may be worsening, we usually suggest to check in with your physician. Would this make sense for you to do at this point? Please let us hear back from you. All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • lawinters
    1 year ago

    For me the back of my throat will feel like it suddenly drys out and triggers a severe asthma coughing episode.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi lawinters and thanks for your post and for sharing your recent experience. What are you able to do for yourself when this happens to you? Wishing you the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • WheezyMe
    1 year ago

    Shellzoo, many people with asthma have trouble with certain forms of exercise. Stairs or walking are usually fine for me, unless it’s walking outdoors in very cold dry weather. However, running triggers my symptoms at once, even when it’s a short distance.

  • WheezyMe
    1 year ago

    Hi John, interesting. thanks for your article!
    Some of the symptoms you mentioned are indeed unusual, whereas others sound quite typical to me… For example, difficulty exercising or sleeping. Runny/stuffy/itchy nose are signs of rhinitis which is also very common in asthmatics.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    1 year ago

    Thanks. Same here. Some of these are usual for me. That’s what makes asthma such an “unusual” disease. John. Site Moderator.

  • FeelingShy
    1 year ago

    Thank you for this. Before I was diagnosed/medicated, I was awake for large portions of nearly every night and didn’t know why. Fatigue and difficulty being active are also huge for me. Plus, I get pain around the lower edge of my ribcage. Maintenance meds make a huge quality of life difference. Too many people, though, even medical people, act like it is only asthma if there is wheezing…as if I am doing asthma wrong or don’t actually have it.

  • Shellzoo
    1 year ago

    I get an itchy throat usually before my symptoms get worse. Sometimes it feels like the itch goes all the way into my lungs/chest. When I start feeling like I need a cold drink to stop that itch, I know I need to do something.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    1 year ago

    Wierd! That’s the same as what I get. For the longest time I thought I was the only one. Thanks for sharing. John. Site Moderator.

  • Leon Lebowitz, RRT moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi Shellzoo and thanks for your recent post (below). So glad you found this article to be helpful and it was instrumental in you recognizing asthma affects everyone differently. As you are probably aware, wheezing is not the only symptom associated with the asthmatic condition. John’s article goes a long way towards explaining all that. Thanks so much for your input. Enjoy the weekend! Leon (site moderator)

  • Shellzoo
    1 year ago

    I am not used to having asthma and I don’t usually wheeze but if I notice I am coughing more than usual, get that itchy throat/airway feeling or chest tightness, if I use my rescue inhaler those symptoms go away. Articles like this help me to recognize asthma is different for everyone and just because I don’t wheeze does not mean I do not have symptoms. I get very out of breath with stairs. I have only just noticed that is my asthma. I can walk quite a way at a good pace with no problems but a flight or two of stairs and I can hardly catch my breath. I look forward to reading other replies to this article.

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