1. ITV Report

How to spot the symptoms of asthma and signs of an attack

Asthma patients are dying needlessly because of poor care, a new report has found. Photo: PA

In the UK, three people die from asthma every day and every 10 seconds someone suffers from a potentially life-threatening attack, according to a new report.

The Royal College of Physicians said that "doctors, patients and their families failed to recognise life-threatening danger signs of asthma".

The NHS has outlined a list of asthma symptoms, which can range from mild to severe, and has outlined the signs of an asthma attack.

Asthma is a chronic conditon when the airways become irritated and inflamed in the lungs and attacks can occur throughout your life. Credit: Bupahealth/Youtube

How to spot the signs of asthma:

  • Feeling breathless
  • Feeling like a band is tightening around your chest
  • Making a whistling sound when you breathe
  • Coughing, particularly in the night and early morning
  • Attacks triggered by exercise
  • Attacks triggered by allergens

People may experience one or more of these symptoms. If the signs are worse during the night or exercise, the NHS encourages sufferers to contact a GP or asthma nurse.

Asthma attacks can take six to 48 hours to become serious and for some people the common symptoms can get worse quickly.

During an attack the muscles in the walls of the airways, carrying air in and out of your lungs, tighten and the inner surface swells. Credit: Bupahealth/Youtube

Signs of an asthma attack:

  • You feel more wheezy, tight-chested and breathless
  • The reliever inhale does not help as much as usual
  • There is a drop in your peak expiratory flow

Signs of a severe asthma attack:

  • Reliever inhale does not help symptoms at all
  • The wheezing, coughing and tight chest are severe and constant
  • Too breathless to speak
  • Your pulse is racing
  • You feel agitated or restless
  • Your lips or fingernails look blue

The below video by BUPA shows what happens when a person gets asthma and how it can be prevented: