Asthma can develop later in life and come on in middle age or older. This affects a substantial number of people and is known as ‘adult-onset asthma’.
The majority of cases of asthma are diagnosed during childhood. Still, it can be hard to know if you have developed adult-onset asthma, not having experienced the condition before. You’ll need to recognise the symptoms and signs.
Signs and Symptoms
- Adult-onset Asthma shares its usual symptoms with early diagnosed asthma. These include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Difficulty breathing
- Coughing fits
- Dry, irritating, persistent cough, particularly at night or in the early morning
The symptoms in older adults can have similarities with other illnesses or conditions. These conditions include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and certain forms of heart disease. If any of these symptoms occur, pay attention to them and go to a doctor to get a professional diagnosis. To correctly diagnose your condition, a doctor will check your symptoms, conduct a physical exam, and may need to test for allergies and perform lung function tests.
Why am I developing asthma now?
The reason for adult-onset asthma is unclear. Some people develop symptoms early, and why others develop the condition later in life. Adult-onset can be a resurgent of a mild childhood illness in some cases. Others may have had asthma young but did not know due to it being a mild case or a possible misdiagnosed as something else like bronchitis.
People may have had asthma as a child at a point, but it disappeared or became very mild. Those people can have the condition return or increase later in their life. There are cases in which adults who have never had asthma can develop the condition. It could be, as mentioned, a mistaking of the symptoms for infections or another illness. Despite any complex reasoning and the possibility of symptoms conflicting with other ailments, it is important to understand the triggers of the symptoms.
Factors and variables of what exactly brings on asthma symptoms are known as triggers. Anyone who suffers from asthma should learn or be aware of what triggers their asthma so they can avoid or prepare for them so the impact is minimised.
The most common triggers for asthma in both children and adults are as follows:
- Cold air
- Colds and cases of flu
- Fumes and strong odours such as perfume, petrol, or factory fumes
- Both passive and active smoking
- Laughing, getting over-excited or getting too emotionally worked up
- Allergens, such as mould, dust mites or pollen
- Medications, including beta-blockers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine
- Foods or any sensitivity to certain foods, additives, and or preservatives
Who is likely to get adult-onset asthma?
People who are likely to develop asthma include:
- If there is a family history of asthma
- People who are constantly being exposed to fumes and irritants
- People who have experienced big hormonal changes such as pregnancy or menopause
- Obese or overweight people
- People with allergies
- People with certain illnesses and viruses
Asthma is not a big problem for asthmatics who know how to manage their condition. Adult-onset asthma, as opposed to childhood asthma, is more likely to be persistent rather than intermittent. Adult asthmatics should learn how to effectively manage the condition to have a healthy and productive life.
Discuss with your doctor what options you have and what is the best treatment for your asthma. Asthma management requires a plan that can be developed to suit your asthma needs. Your doctor will most likely prescribe a preventative medication for you as well as taking a daily medication that can reduce the risks of an asthma attack. And how to best avoid your triggers when they might arise.