Symptoms of asthma develop as a result of the narrowing and inflammation of the airways. Wheezing is a characteristic symptom of asthma, along with shortness of breath. Chest pain or tightness can accompany an asthma attack. Coughing can also be a symptom of asthma. The cough associated with asthma is often worse at night or in the early morning. Nighttime cough can lead to problems with sleep. Symptoms vary among affected individuals. Some people have mild symptoms that occur infrequently, while others have more frequent or more severe symptoms. Severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening.