Aside from well-known symptoms such as wheezing and shortness of breath, there are several signs of asthma that aren’t obvious.
Worried you or someone you know might have the lung condition? Here are some of the lesser known symptoms to look out for.
Coughing at night
Asthma symptoms are often worse at night, especially coughing. This is because the natural process your body uses to control inflammation (including inflammation in your airways) tends to switch off while you’re asleep, explains Asthma UK.
A reaction to dust mites or skin cells in your bedding might trigger the condition, leading to a persistent, hacking cough.
If a cough is chronic, lasting longer than three weeks, speak to your GP about asthma.
As asthma symptoms worsen at night, sleep can be affected.
If they persist without treatment, extreme tiredness could mean work/school and quality of life are negatively impacted.
Anxiety or difficultly concentrating
Stress and anxiety can lead to asthma symptoms. According to Asthma UK, 69 per cent of sufferers say that stress is a trigger for their asthma. Conversly, asthma also triggers anxiety.
“Someone who is constantly under stress is more likely to react with fight or flight reactions to stressful situations, meaning they’ll be at more risk of asthma symptoms,” the website states.
Laughing or crying hard can also prompt symptoms.
Coughing in cold weather
Cold air often leads to wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest for asthma sufferers.
Bupa advises that anyone with asthma limit the time they spend outside on very cold, dry days. Exercising in cold air worsens symptoms.
Coughing after eating
A small number of people suffering with asthma are triggered by food allergies.
The foods that cause the most allergies are dairy products, eggs, nuts, seeds, fish, wheat and soya. Salicylates in tea, coffee, dried herbs and spices are also a common trigger, as are food additives, says Asthma UK.
Contact with a food allergen can lead to an allergic reaction, which can include wheezing and breathing difficulties.
The condition is also worsened by pollution, with MPs recently warning that 40,000 Britons are dying every year because successive governments have failed to act.