If you struggle with shortness of breath, chronic coughing, or excessive fatigue, you may suffer from asthma.
Asthma is one of the most common diseases globally, affecting more than 262 million people around the globe. It is the most prevalent chronic disease found in children under the age of 18, and the number of adults with asthma grows every year. 
When it comes to an asthma diagnosis, certain risk factors can contribute to your chance of having the disease. Read on to determine what these risk factors are and which signs or symptoms may indicate asthma.
Asthma Risk Factors
Are you worried that you may develop asthma in the future? There are certain factors that put you at an increased risk of developing asthma. Learn more about three of the most common risk factors below.
There is a common misconception that patients are diagnosed with asthma only in childhood or as teenagers. While this is when many people receive an asthma diagnosis, adult-onset asthma is not uncommon. In fact, many patients experience their first asthma symptoms in their 40s and 50s.
Patients with adult-onset asthma may have experienced symptoms in their childhood that went away as they got older. These symptoms typically return after a serious respiratory infection, pregnancy, menopause, or exposure to irritants in the air. 
Research has shown that people with certain underlying conditions are more likely to develop asthma. This is particularly true for those who are struggling with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Types of COPD include emphysema, pulmonary hypertension, and chronic bronchitis.
Other underlying health concerns that can increase your risk of developing asthma include severe allergies (particularly to cats), chronic respiratory infections, or viruses like Epstein-Barr. 
Sometimes an asthma diagnosis is simply written into your DNA. Those who have family members with asthma are more likely to develop the condition at any point in life. In fact, having one parent with asthma increases your risk of developing the disease by about 25%. If both parents have asthma, your risk jumps up to 50%. 
If asthma runs in your family, you should notify your primary care provider. You may benefit from yearly screenings for asthma and other respiratory conditions. When detected early, you can begin asthma treatments that make it easier to manage symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Signs and Symptoms
For people who are concerned about developing asthma, there are certain signs and symptoms to look out for. While these symptoms can be attributed to various diseases or other conditions, they are incredibly prevalent among asthma patients. These most common signs and symptoms of asthma include the following:
One of the most common symptoms people experience with asthma is chronic fatigue. This excessive fatigue is considered to be a byproduct of other symptoms that come with asthma, such as shortness of breath and coughing. 
When shortness of breath and continuous coughing prevent your body from getting the oxygen it needs, you will feel fatigued. Many asthma patients report that their fatigue is so severe that it is not relieved by rest or adequate sleep.
Shortness of Breath
For many patients, shortness of breath is one of the first indicators that they are struggling with asthma.
Initially, this shortness of breath may occur with mild to moderate exercise, which leads most people to believe the feeling is normal and not due to asthma. As time goes on, this shortness of breath can start to occur while at rest, causing patients to seek a diagnosis.
In more advanced cases of asthma, you may notice cyanosis, which is a bluish tint to the lips or skin due to a lack of sufficient oxygen reaching the blood. While it may not be noticeable in the earliest stages of asthma, you should be on the lookout for any changes in the color of your skin and lips. 
Another common sign of asthma is mild to severe wheezing. Some patients may not notice a mild wheezing sound until those around them point it out. This sound will typically occur during laughing, coughing, or heavy exercise.
If your asthma is left untreated, you may begin to notice that you are wheezing even when breathing normally at rest.
Frequent coughing is one of the most prominent signs of struggling with asthma. Coughing is common in many respiratory conditions, but coughing associated with asthma will be chronic and ongoing. It typically will not resolve with over-the-counter medications.
Many patients report that their coughing is similar to the cough accompanying respiratory infections, but it does not let up after several weeks to months.
Many patients with asthma experience chest tightness, especially during an asthma attack or flare-up. This feeling of pressure or tightness in the chest is due to the lungs’ inability to expand. Patients often report that it feels like there is “an elephant sitting on their chest.” 
While chest tightness frequently occurs in asthma patients, it can also be associated with medical emergencies like a heart attack. If you are feeling sudden and severe chest tightness, always seek immediate medical attention.
Getting a Diagnosis
Diagnosing asthma can be difficult, as many symptoms overlap with other common medical ailments. If your primary care physician suspects that you have asthma, you will be referred to a pulmonologist or lung specialist for further evaluation.
Your pulmonologist will perform various diagnostic tests to determine whether asthma is causing your symptoms. This will include diagnostic imaging of the chest and lungs, such as X-ray, CT scan, and MRI. Comprehensive blood panels will be run to rule out underlying conditions that mimic asthma symptoms.
The most telling diagnostic tool will be a pulmonary function test. This test measures the amount of air you can inhale and exhale.
Your doctor will also do a thorough review of your medical history and discuss any history of asthma within your family. This is to check for risk factors that can increase the likelihood that you are suffering from asthma.
 Asthma (who.int)
 Adult-Onset Asthma Symptoms, Treatments, Causes, Types, and Health Tools (webmd.com)
 The influence of Epstein‐Barr virus and cytomegalovirus on childhood respiratory health: A population‐based prospective cohort study – PMC (nih.gov)
 Asthma And Genetics. How Does Genetics Play A Role In Asthma? – SuperMedical
 Asthma: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment (health.com)
 Can Asthma Cause Blue Lips – KnowYourAsthma.com Recognizing And Managing Chest Tightness From Asthma