Bronchial asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that is manifested in the form of attack. Bronchial asthma in the initial stages of its development does not cause common disorders in the organism. But over time, they undoubtedly occur, manifesting themselves in the form of the following symptoms.
Shortness of breath or asphyxia. These symptoms may appear both during a peaceful rest at night and during physical exercises. Breathing with polluted air, smoke, ordinary and blossom dust, even a change of temperature may provoke the attacks. The main characteristic feature is a suddenness of the attacks. After a contact with the reagent inside the airways, a mucosa swells and bronchial smooth muscle spasm emerges. That’s why an inhale is performed easily, while exhale is difficult because of bronchial constriction. After some time, the spasm comes to an end and breathing becomes normal. During a long-term disease, irreversible changes in the bronchial tree walls emerge, that are manifested by a specific constant shortness of breath, expressed to a greater or lesser extent.
Cough. Dry cough is considered to be a typical symptom of asthmatic attack. It occurs simultaneously with shortness of breath and is characterized by a hacking nature. The patient feels as if he wants to cough something out, but cannot do it. Only at the end of the attack the cough may be of the wet character. This time it is accompanied by a discharge of a small amount of transparent sputum. Asthmatic cough may be seasonal, appearing annually in certain months. Many forms of asthmatic cough are often associated with allergic rhinitis.
Frequent shallow breathing with a prolonged exhalation. During the attack of asthma, the patients mainly complain not about the difficulties with aspiration but the impossibility of a full exhalation. The latter becomes much longer than usual and requires more effort to implement it.
Rales during breathing. They are always dry and of a whistling nature. In some cases, rales are very clear and may be perfectly heard at a certain distance from the patient. Rales are heard even better during auscultation. Rales are usually heard over the entire surface of the lungs. During severe attacks, nothing at all may be heard in the lungs. This phenomenon is called “silent lungs”.
Orthopnea. This is a typical position of the patient during an attack. The patient sits down, drops his feet on the floor and holds the bed firmly with his hands. Such fixation of auxiliary muscles of limbs helps perform the exhalation to a fuller extent. The patient takes this position instinctively. It helps the organism activate additional resources to restore a normal supply of air into the lungs.
Pulmonary emphysema. This condition is typical for patients with a long or extremely severe duration of the disease. It is manifested in a form of chest volume increase, weak breathing during auscultation and expansion of lung boundaries. Emphysema is observed in 2/3 of patients with bronchial asthma and has different periods of development. It may be acutely reversible, i.e. formed during an attack due to a bronchial obstruction and chronic irreversible, i.e. formed during repeated attacks of asthma. As a result of emphysema irreversible airway obstruction significantly increases that deteriorates the prospects of asthma therapy.
General weakness. During the attack, the patient is unable to perform any active movements because they aggravate the respiratory failure. All the patient is able to do is to take an orthopnea position to facilitate the attack. Between the attacks of asthma, the patient’s physical activity is normal. However, the more severe the disease, the more pronounced the violations.
Many symptoms of asthma appear only for a very short time, disappear without any medical treatment and do not reveal themselves again for quite a long time. But over time, the symptoms start to progress. It is vitally important not to miss this period of imaginary well-being and pay a visit to doctors, regardless of the number and duration of attacks.