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 - Northwestern Memorial Hospital - Chicago


Asthma symptoms vary from person to person, and they may even vary each time a person has an asthma attack or flare-up of symptoms.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Wheezing
  • Cough
  • Breathlessness or difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness

These symptoms are often worse at night or early in the morning. It's important to know that not everyone with asthma will have these symptoms.

Controlling Symptoms

The type of asthma symptoms you have and how severe they are varies over time. Some days,  your symptoms may be mild, and on other days, they may limit your activities. Severe symptoms can be life-threatening, so it's important to work with your doctor to control your symptoms.

As of today, asthma cannot be cured; however, there are ways people can control the symptoms and maintain an active lifestyle.

Some things that can be done include:

  • Avoiding your asthma triggers whenever possible
  • Using long-term medicine ("controller" inhaler) to control symptoms and prevent flare-ups
  • Using a short-term medicine ("rescue" inhaler) to control symptoms once they start
  • Working with an asthma specialist to track your symptoms so your treatment can be adjusted if necessary

If your asthma symptoms are getting worse, you should discuss it with your doctor immediately. If you have trouble talking, walking or lying down because of asthma, you should call 9-1-1 right away to be taken to the nearest emergency room.

Contact Us

If you have or think you may have asthma, we urge you to seek treatment as soon as possible. If you don’t have a physician, and you’d like to make an appointment with someone who understands asthma and how to successfully manage it, please call our Asthma-COPD Program at 312-695-1800.

You may  also make an appointment by calling our Physician Referral Department at 1-877-926-4664, or you can request a first time appointment online.

Last UpdateApril 19, 2011