Four most common symptoms of asthma

Like many things in life, when it comes to asthma, knowledge is power. Understanding your asthma symptoms can help them feel less overwhelming and enable you to know when to take action.



A whistling sound that happens when you breathe. You may only experience this symptom when exercising or in cold weather



Finding it hard to breathe or like you can’t get enough air into your lungs. Some people may struggle to take a deep breath in or a long breath out

Chest tightness1,3


Feeling like there is a band tightening around your torso or a heavy weight pressing down on your lungs



Often this will be a dry cough, but you may also bring up mucus. This can be more frequent at night

Keeping track of your asthma symptoms

It’s easy to think your asthma is well controlled even when it’s not. If you get used to experiencing asthma symptoms, you can start to think of them as ‘normal’. Whereas, experiencing asthma symptoms means that your asthma isn’t fully under control.2,4

Keep track of your symptoms to give you a better picture of your asthma control and know when to take action.3,5

Tips for tracking your asthma symptoms:3,5

  • Make a note in the moment when you are experiencing an asthma symptom
  • If you can’t track in the moment, set aside time each day to make notes – you may want to put a reminder on your phone
  • Keep your notes all in one place – you could use a wall calendar, diary, app or spreadsheet
  • Try to capture as much detail as possible. Include the date, time of day and any triggers that you think were linked to the symptom
  • Note down how often you use your reliever inhaler
  • Remember to make notes on good days too – maybe you still had symptoms but they were less bad

What to do next:

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Talk to your doctor about your symptoms at your next appointment. This will help them to understand if any changes are needed to your treatment, plus, they will be able to share useful advice on how to manage your symptoms.

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Remember to take time to recognise and take pride in how far you have come. Tracking your symptoms will let you see when your asthma is in control, giving you confidence in your care.


If you’re concerned that your asthma symptoms might be holding you back, speak to your doctor for more information.
The asthma control test (ACT) is a quick way to see how the symptoms of asthma are affecting your everyday life. Click on the link below to get the results in seconds – and be sure to share them with your doctor.

  • referenceS

    1. NHS. Asthma Symptoms. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/symptoms/. Accessed: February 2024.
    2. American Lung Association. Asthma Symptoms. Available at: www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/symptoms-diagnosis/symptoms. Accessed: February 2024.
    3. Asthma and Lung UK. Symptoms of asthma. Available at: www.asthmaandlung.org.uk/conditions/asthma/symptoms-asthma. Accessed: February 2024.
    4. American Lung Association. Assess and Monitor Your Asthma Control. Available at: https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/managing-asthma/asthma-control. Accessed: February 2024.
    5. Asthma and Lung UK. Monitoring severe asthma symptoms. Available at: https://www.asthmaandlung.org.uk/conditions/severe-asthma/monitoring-severe-asthma-symptoms. Accessed: February 2024.