Asthma is a respiratory disorder characterized by inflammation that occurs in the bronchioles (airways) of the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe. The bronchioles of the lungs become constricted and narrowed so that air cannot easily pass through them. A person with asthma usually has episodes of symptoms called asthma attacks and goes through periods in which they do not have any symptoms at all. An asthma attack can be triggered by various allergens that people are sensitive to, such as pollen, dust, mold, animal dander and smoke from tobacco products. Asthma attacks can also be triggered by an existing respiratory infection, and factors like stress, cold weather and vigorous exercise may trigger attacks in some people.
Asthma is one of the disorders that can cause chest pain. Unexplained chest pain should always be checked out by a medical professional, as there are a variety of cardiovascular and lung problems that can cause chest pain, some of which are considered medical emergencies. The chest pain involved with asthma is often described as a feeling of tightness in the chest. Not all people with asthma will experience chest pain, but it is one of the common symptoms that are caused by an asthma attack.
Asthma may cause other symptoms besides chest pain, including wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing. Asthma attacks may vary in severity; severe asthma attacks can seriously interfere with breathing, cause significant anxiety and may even lead to unconsciousness and cyanosis (blue coloring) of the skin. Some people with asthma may experience chest tightness or chest pain alone. Most of the time, however, the classic symptoms of asthma, such as wheezing and shortness of breath, also occur in the asthma patient along with the chest tightness. Treatment to keep asthma attacks under control will improve the symptoms of chest pain and make breathing easier for the asthma patient.