Assess Your Health
It's easy to figure out if you have asthma if a sudden attack leaves you short of breath. But how do you know if you have a milder form of this disease?
InteliHealth/Harvard Medical Content
It's easy to figure out that you may have asthma if a sudden attack causes loud wheezing and causes you to feel so short of breath that you have a hard time talking. But how do you know if you have a milder case of asthma?
It's perfectly normal to feel out of breath after running up six flights of stairs or playing a pick-up game of basketball. When your exercising muscles need more oxygen than the lungs can deliver with slow, restful breaths, your breathing gets faster and deeper. Once the muscles have the oxygen they need, breathing gradually returns to your slower resting breathing pattern
If you often find yourself short of breath or straining to breathe even when you aren't exerting yourself, you may have asthma. Another signal could be that you find yourself out of breath when doing activities you used to do without a problem. Asthma could also be the reason why your breathing is slower to return to normal after you exercise. Breathing changes like these can be caused by asthma or by problems other than asthma. Either way, call your health care professional as soon as you notice new breathing difficulties.
Sometimes the symptoms of asthma aren't what you'd expect. Maybe you've had a nagging cough you just can't seem to shake. Or you've had repeated bouts of bronchitis. Maybe you feel a tickle when you breathe or a tightness in your chest. All of these can be symptoms of asthma. Let your health care professional help you to know what's causing your symptoms.
Asthma isn't always easy to diagnose, and you can't diagnose it yourself. There isn't a single symptom or blood test that will confirm you have asthma. Instead, an accurate diagnosis depends on a combination of things. Your description of your symptoms is one of the most important clues for your doctor.
Last updated July 28, 2008