World Asthma Day: Know the early signs and symptoms

Zee Media Bureau/Salome Phelamei

It's quite possible that many people might be walking around with asthma and not even know it. Only a doctor can diagnose asthma based on your medical and family histories, a physical exam, and test results.

Asthma is defined as a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that makes breathing difficult. It is also a condition in which your airways narrow and swell producing extra mucus.

WHO estimates that 235 million people currently suffer from asthma. It is the most common non-communicable disease among children.

Though it's not clear what exactly causes asthma, it's likely due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Since asthma changes over time, it's important to talk to your doctor about all of your concerns asking lots of questions.

Asthma can't be cured, but appropriate management can control the disorder enabling people to enjoy a good quality of life.

Not every person with asthma has the same symptoms in the same way. It ranges from severe to mild and differ from person to person.

Common asthma symptoms include:

Shortness of breath

Coughing, especially at night


Chest tightness or pain

Trouble sleeping due to shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing.

Symptoms generally worsen at night and in the early morning. It may also worsen in response to cold air or exercise. Also, some people with asthma seldom experience symptoms, usually in response to triggers, others may have marked and persistent symptoms.

If you experience any of the above symptoms and think that you have asthma, you must consult a doctor immediately and have your symptoms properly diagnosed to avoid long-term lung damage and to avert the condition from worsening over time. 

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