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What are the symptoms of severe asthma?

ANSWER

If you have a severe asthma attack and your regular asthma medicine doesn’t stop it, it’s an emergency. You may have symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Can’t speak in full sentences
  • Feel breathless even when you lie down
  • Chest feels tight
  • Bluish tint to your lips
  • Feel agitated, confused, or can’t concentrate
  • Hunched shoulders, strained abdominal and neck muscles
  • Feel that you need to sit or stand up to breathe more easily

SOURCES:

Smolley, L. and Bruce, D. New York, Random House, 1998. Breathe Right Now,

American Family Physician , 2003.

American Academy of Family Physicians: "The Crashing Asthmatic."

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Expert Panel report 2: guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma."

National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "NIH publication no. 97-4051."

Circulation : "Guidelines 2000 for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Part 8: advanced challenges in resuscitation: section 3: special challenges in ECC. The American Heart Association in collaboration with the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation."

UptoDate: “Patient Education: Asthma treatment in adolescents and adults (Beyond the Basics).”

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: “What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Asthma?”

CDC: "Asthma Action Plan.”

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy on December 20, 2017

SOURCES:

Smolley, L. and Bruce, D. New York, Random House, 1998. Breathe Right Now,

American Family Physician , 2003.

American Academy of Family Physicians: "The Crashing Asthmatic."

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: "Expert Panel report 2: guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma."

National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "NIH publication no. 97-4051."

Circulation : "Guidelines 2000 for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Part 8: advanced challenges in resuscitation: section 3: special challenges in ECC. The American Heart Association in collaboration with the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation."

UptoDate: “Patient Education: Asthma treatment in adolescents and adults (Beyond the Basics).”

National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: “What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Asthma?”

CDC: "Asthma Action Plan.”

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy on December 20, 2017

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What are the common asthma triggers?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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