A large number of new asthma cases are experienced among adults, although most of us tend to think of asthma as exclusively a childhood and adolescent condition. In fact, asthma can develop at any time and by anyone.
If you think you might be having symptoms of adult-onset asthma, it’s very important you obtain a proper diagnosis.
Some symptoms of asthma include:
- Shortness of breath after exercise
- A whistling, wheezing sound when exhaling
- Dry cough at night
Many asthma symptoms may be easily confused with other significant conditions such as heart disease, or with respiratory problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
What Causes Adult Asthma?
Several factors can contribute to making a person vulnerable to developing adult asthma. Some of these factors include:
- Having had asthma when young
- Being obese
- Hormonal fluctuations in women (such as during pregnancy or menopause)
- Prolonged exposure to unhealthy substances at work or at home
- Sensitivity to medications, such as beta-blockers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
Allergic Triggers for Asthma
Almost half of the cases of adult asthma are caused by allergic reactions. Frequent exposure to environmental allergens and irritants such as cigarette smoke, chemicals, dust, and mold can trigger the first asthma symptoms in an adult.
Many causes of adult-onset asthma are similar to those of childhood asthma. However, the environment most adults live in every day, such as offices, factories, or areas with smokers, are different from those of a child.
Some adult asthma allergy triggers include:
- Secondhand smoke
- Dust mites at work and at home
- Motor vehicle fumes in urban settings
- Mold and mildew spores in humid environments
- Excessive exercise and physical exertion
- Respiratory infections such as the flu
- Animal companions, such as cats
- Dry, cold air
Living with Adult Asthma
As we age, the function and capacity of our lungs decreases to some degree – and some physicians believe that this might put older adults at risk for asthma and new allergies.
The key to living an active, healthy life with asthma – as with many other chronic conditions – is developing a team approach to the disease. This partnership includes you, your doctor, other caregivers such as therapists, and even family and friends as you deem appropriate.
Develop an asthma care management plan with your doctor or nurse. It can help you understand the various symptoms and the types of asthma events you may encounter, and how to manage them. Keep your doctor updated at your appointments as your management treatment progresses.
Make sure you have regular medical care. If you have adult asthma, see your doctor at least once a year, even if your symptoms and asthma events are under control.
Who Can Help Me Manage My Adult Asthma?
Take all of your prescription medicines, and follow your asthma management plans. Many adults abandon their plan to manage their asthma as time progresses, but be sure to stick with your plan to remain healthy. If you start to feel that your asthma medications and precautions are no longer necessary since you have been symptom-free for a while, remember that you’re feeling healthy because you have remained vigilant.
If you are having problems with allergies, asthma, or general breathing problems, call the Nasal & Sinus Center of Austin at (512) 861-8819 or our Lakeway, Texas location at (512) 649-9352 for an appointment. You can also request an appointment online right now to get started.
Our team will conduct a thorough exam and perform any necessary tests to diagnose your condition and offer the best treatment option available. We look forward to helping you breathe better and feel healthy again.