Asthma attack

Asthma attack causes, symptoms, treatment and more

An asthma attack is the severity of asthma symptoms due to the tightening of bronchospasm muscles (muscles of the airway). The main cause of an asthma attack is the worsening of asthma symptoms. So you should know well about asthma. Asthma is actually a pulmonary condition defined by acute or chronic inflammatory processes in airway tubes, thickening or tightening of respiratory smooth muscle, and bronchoconstriction. This triad of symptoms, bronchoconstriction, muscle spasm, and mucus production worsens the asthma symptoms during asthma attack.

Whenever triggering agent enters in body of asthma patient, it is recognized by B-cells and helper T cells. The immune system activates and releases some important inflammatory mediators such as IL-3, IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 which cause bronchial hypersensitivity, bronchial constriction, and airway obstruction.

Asthma most commonly occurs during spring season or winter due to a high rate of dust or spores exposure.


Asthma attack may be mild or severe depending on the severity of symptoms.
Most commonly Mild asthma attacks are seen and the last shorter. Usually, the respiratory tubes open up within a few minutes to a few hours after immediate treatment. While severe asthma attacks are not more common but last longer and need immediate medical care. Therefore, a doctor must recognize and treat mild asthma symptoms to prevent severe episodes in the future.


Asthma exists in sensitive immune system patients which makes your airways become inflamed, swollen, and tightened when you exposed to certain particles. Its severity varies from person to person. Asthma may be allergic or non-allergic.

Allergic Asthma

Allergic asthma may be caused by dust, humidity, fumes, spores, Pete, cold air, mites, tobacco smoke, mold, or such particles.

Non-allergic Asthma

While non-allergic asthma can be due to
Stress or intense emotion, upper respiratory tract infections or Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD.


Asthma attack signs and symptoms include:

  • Severe shortness of breath,
  • chest tightness or chest pain,
  • Non-stop coughing
  • Severe wheezing when inspire or expire air
  • Rapid breathing
  • Low peak expiratory flow (PEF), if you measured by a peak flow meter
  • Anxiety
  • Difficult in speech
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slow heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Tightening of bronchial muscles
  • Sweating during attack
  • Bluish lips

Worsening of these asthma symptoms despite the use of medicine


Asthmatic patients should keep their asthma under control by taking proper medication and avoidance of associated factors. If your asthma isn’t controlled despite the use of your medication, you’re more prone to have an asthma attack in the future. Go to your health care provider, Seek medical care right away if you are facing signs and symptoms of serious asthma attack which may include:

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Severe wheezing
  • Severe breathlessness especially at night during sleep or in the early morning
  • Low peak flow reading
  • Unable to speak more than short phrases due to shortness of breath
  • No improvement despite the use of an inhaler
  • Chest compression or tightness
  • Inability to breathe

These symptoms warn you when you need emergency medical care.


Anyone who has asthma (acute or chronic) is at high risk of an asthma attack. Therefore, patients having asthma symptoms must keep their asthma under controlled to help you prevent the serious complication of untreated asthma. Some risk factors are responsible to make you at high risk of an asthma attack in your next life. These factors include if
You have had a severe asthma attack in a previous life

  • You have had been admitted to an emergency for asthma symptoms or exacerbation.
  • You are using more than two long or short actuating agents a month.
  • You have any other chronic diseases such as sinusitis or nasal polyps.
  • You have any chronic lung disease or chronic history of asthma.
  • Your asthma symptoms are not well controlled despite treatment.


Asthma attacks can be serious if you ignore it or left untreated. It can Interrupt your daily routine tasks such as school, work, sleep, and exercise Propel you to the hospital or emergency room which can be more panic Destroy the livers of your close people around you Lead to respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest or death. These fatal complications can be prevented by taking proper medication according to your asthma action plan with your concerned doctor.


It is very important for all the asthma patients to develop asthma action plans with your doctor. It helps you to identify your asthma attack and what you can do according to your symptoms. It helps your family or friends know what they should do if you have an attack.

Asthma action plans include:

  • The extent of your symptoms
  • The type of medicine you take
  • How much does is required based on your attack or symptoms
  • Proper information or guideline to help you identify the worsening symptoms
  • What should you do in case of a severe asthma attack

Now forms are available which are given to institutes, employers, and schools for the children and adults in the case of an emergency.


Treatment of this attack can vary from patient to patient, but it usually requires 2 to 6 puffs of an inhaler to open up your respiratory tubes.

A Nebulizer is most commonly used for small children or for those who are reluctant to use an inhaler. The nebulizer is a device in which your medication is turned into a mist and then this mist is inhaled deep into the lungs.

If your doctor prescribed you medicine for asthma controlled, use it as directed. Long-acting beta blockers (LABA) and short acting beta-blockers (SABA) are used more commonly.


If you have asthma, first of all, identify asthma triggers and stay away from allergens. Moreover, follow the following instruction to prevent any asthma exacerbation. They include

  1. Avoid smoke of any type and wear the mask in polluted areas.
  2. Prevent colds and nebulizer.
  3. Allergy proof your home, by proper sanitization.
  4. Get your vaccinations.
  5. Consider immunotherapy allergy shots
  6. Take asthma medications as prescribed by your doctor.

HP Thoughts: Did you know that smoke and fume could trigger asthma? Learn how to cope with fumes by reading our post — How Paint Fumes Affect Your Health.

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