How to Tell if a Person Has Asthma

Asthma is defined as a “chronic inflammatory disease of the airway” that causes regular coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and a tight feeling in the chest. The symptoms come and go, so you may not know for certain if you have asthma or not. As with most medical conditions, early detection is the best first step.


Check to see if you occasionally have shortness of breath, tightness in the chest or breathing problems. See if you wheeze and make a “whistling” sound when you have trouble breathing.

See if coughing or breathing problems keep you from performing regular activities, exercising or sleeping. Check if you’ve had to miss work or school because of breathing problems.

Check if certain conditions make it harder to breathe, such as very hot or cold weather or strong fumes and odors like tobacco smoke.

Know if you have allergies, as asthma and allergies can be related. Allergens like pollen, mold and dust mites can make asthma symptoms worse by making the air passages more sensitive. Please note that having allergies does not always mean having asthma and vice versa.

Watch to see if you get chest colds. See if they cause breathing problems or take more than ten days to get over.

See a doctor. Ultimately, a doctor is the only person who can find out if you really have asthma.


Avoid your asthma triggers. Your doctor should tell you what can trigger your asthma, such as allergens or extreme weather.

Take the medicine prescribed by your doctor. This will likely include a controller to help prevent symptoms and a reliever to help immediately remove them. A prescribed inhaler is common and should be carried at all times.

Monitor your conditions. See if you have to take your medications more often over time. It should be a sign that your asthma is getting worse.

Asthma is defined as a "chronic inflammatory disease of the airway" that causes regular coughing