You might be familiar with asthma, a chronic lung condition that causes breathing difficulties. People with asthma suffer from narrowing and inflammation of their airways, along with an increase in mucus production. But can you get asthma as an adult? Or is it a condition that develops in childhood? Well, in most cases, asthma develops in childhood. However, you can get asthma as an adult as well. Carry on reading to learn all about adult-onset asthma.
Asthma Symptoms in Adults
Being an adult does not mean you are immune to developing asthma. It can occur at any age, whether you are a child or an adult. The signs of adult asthma are similar to childhood asthma, which include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Coughing (sometimes with mucus)
- Pressure or tightness in the chest
- Lingering cold
If you are experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, consult a healthcare provider to receive adequate treatment.
What Causes Asthma in Adults?
You are susceptible to developing asthma as an adult. The following factors could lead to adult-onset asthma:
- Hormonal changes, like menopause or pregnancy
- Taking estrogen after menopause for 10 years or more
- Virus or illness like the cold or flu
- Frequent exposure to irritants
Childhood Asthma vs. Adult On-Set Asthma
Adult on-set asthma and childhood asthma are similar in multiple ways, including the symptoms and the standard treatment. However, there are some differences between the two, like the severity of asthma symptoms.
When you develop asthma as a child, the symptoms tend to come and go. In comparison, adult asthma symptoms are usually persistent. Moreover, adult on-set asthma is not that well-controlled.
An adult who gets asthma is more likely to suffer from declining lung function. This is because adults could have stiffening of their chest walls, making it challenging to treat asthma. Other than this, asthma puts adults at a higher risk of death than children. Even though the cause of asthma-related deaths in adults is unclear, it’s still a distinguishing factor between childhood vs. adult asthma.
In short, adults who get asthma have to deal with comparatively severe symptoms. In comparison, children have well-controlled asthma, and their risk of death due to this condition is low.
Treatment of Asthma in Adults
Your doctor might recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and medications tailored to your condition. Hence, every individual has a personal treatment plan for asthma. A comprehensive plan for treating asthma could include the following:
- Bronchodilators: Bronchodilators are available in two types; fast-acting and long-acting. Both of these help manage the symptoms of adult asthma. Long-acting asthma might help manage adult-onset asthma. Still, your healthcare provider will recommend whatever is best for you.
- Corticosteroids: You can also treat adult-onset asthma with the help of inhalers that contain corticosteroids. This treatment helps reduce the frequency of asthma symptoms instead of treating sudden ones.
- No Smoking: Smoking can worsen your condition if you suffer from asthma. Therefore, you’ll have to refrain from smoking if you are an asthma patient.
- Daily Management: Taking medications as prescribed helps go a long way with asthma. Moreover, you’ll have to monitor the condition daily to prevent flare-ups. Other than this, avoiding exposure to irritants and allergens also helps manage asthma symptoms.
Your doctor will recommend the best asthma treatment for you, depending on your condition. Make sure to seek medical help right away!
In conclusion, you can get asthma as an adult. The symptoms are similar to childhood asthma, but the severity might be more. Oftentimes, adult asthma is misdiagnosed as a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). At Internal Medicine Diagnostic Center, we treat asthma and many health conditions. So if you suspect you have this condition, head to our clinic at 18550 N. 6th Street, Magnolia, Texas 77354. You can also talk to us by dialing (281) 252-8600.