If you have asthma, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
WHEEZING A whistling sound usually heard when breathing in or out.
COUGHING A cough that may not go away and often occurs or worsens at night.
CHEST TIGHTNESS Feeling as if something is squeezing or sitting on your chest.
SHORTNESS OF BREATH Feeling as though you can't catch your breath. You may feel as though you are breathless, out of breath, or can't get enough air out of your lungs.
The severity and frequency of asthma symptoms can vary depending on how well controlled your asthma is, your exposure to asthma triggers, and other factors. If you're not meeting certain asthma goals as determined by your healthcare provider, you may be just coping with, rather than controlling, your symptoms.
Take the ASTHMA CONTROL TEST™* to assess how well controlled your asthma is, and bring the results with you when you talk to your healthcare provider. Be sure to mention which symptoms you're experiencing and how often they're occurring. This will help your healthcare provider determine the best way to manage your asthma.
WHEN ASTHMA SYMPTOMS CAN GET WORSE
While asthma is a condition that you have 24 hours a day, every day, often asthma symptoms can get worse in the middle of the night. Factors that can cause your asthma symptoms to worsen at night may include:
- Your body clock. Your body makes certain substances that protect against inflammation. Levels of these substances can be lower at night, which may be the reason you experience worsening symptoms during this time.
- Sinus infections or postnasal drip caused by allergens such as dust mites or pet dander.
- Heartburn, or GERD. Heartburn, which can be a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is caused by stomach acid backing up into your esophagus or sometimes into your throat. If you have GERD, lying down can make your heartburn and your asthma symptoms worse. If you are having nighttime asthma symptoms, try not to eat too close to bedtime, and ask your healthcare provider about GERD. Treating GERD may help to improve asthma symptoms in people who have both conditions.
Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider if you are having trouble sleeping or are waking during the night due to your asthma.
WHEN YOU'RE PREGNANT During pregnancy, some women find that their asthma improves, while others find that it worsens or stays the same. Improved asthma control during pregnancy is associated with lower rates of pregnancy-related complications. So if you have asthma and are pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider about what you might expect and what you can do about asthma symptoms.
WHEN TAKING MEDICATION Some medicines can trigger asthma symptoms. These medicines include prescription medications and over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, cold medicines, nonsteroidal pain relievers (for example, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium), and even eye drops. Talk to your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines. Keep a list and show it to your provider at each visit.