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What are the signs and symptoms of severe asthma?

People with severe asthma experience the same symptoms as people with mild to moderate asthma, however these asthma symptoms may be more intense and/or occur more often and remain uncontrolled despite high-dose treatment or can only be controlled with continual high-dose treatment. Symptoms can include:

  • breathlessness  
  • wheezing  
  • feeling tight in the chest
  • continuing cough

Symptoms often occur at night, early in the morning or during/just after activity.

When asthma is well controlled, you should only have occasional asthma symptoms - less than twice a week.

You should speak to your doctor if you have any of the following while taking high dose, inhaled combination preventer, regularly and correctly:

  • Ongoing poor symptom control or frequent asthma symptoms (e.g. more than 2 days a week)
  • Frequent asthma flare-ups (2 or more courses of oral corticosteroids in the last 12 months)
  • Any admission to hospital for asthma in the last 12 months.

It is not normal to have ongoing frequent asthma symptoms.

If you think you have severe asthma - see your GP and ask if a referral to a respiratory specialist is right for you.

For further information call the 1800 ASTHMA Helpline (1800 278 462).

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