The breathing disorder asthma affects around 262 million women, men, and children, around the globe. Although most people with asthma get their initial diagnosis during childhood or adolescence, you can develop it at any age.
After age 20, if you develop symptoms that your doctor diagnoses as asthma, you’re considered to have adult-onset asthma. However, you can get asthma in your 60s or even older. Childhood asthma that seemed to resolve can also reappear in adulthood.
Ranjit Grewal, MD, diagnoses and treats adult-onset asthma at Houston Family MD in Cypress, Texas. If you live in the Houston area and experience symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath, you may have asthma.If you didn’t have asthma as a child, don’t assume that you’re in the clear.
Through advanced lung function tests and imaging studies, we confirm whether your symptoms are due to adult-onset asthma or to other respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Following are some important facts about adult-onset asthma, and why it isn’t rare at all.
Irritants and allergens trigger asthma
In many cases, adult-onset asthma develops because of exposure to various chemicals, irritants, and allergens. You may encounter chemicals on the job that eventually impact your airways and lead to the excessive mucus production associated with asthma.
About 30% of adult asthma cases are traced back to allergens. Even if you’ve had allergies for your entire life, they can trigger asthma as you age. Some common airborne allergens and irritants that trigger asthma in adults include:
- Pet dander
- Tobacco smoke
You’re also more likely to develop adult-onset asthma due to unhealthy lifestyle factors such as smoking or secondhand smoke, weight challenges, and significant stress. Are you exposed to toxins or allergens? Identifying triggers is an important step in managing your asthma so you can take steps to avoid those triggers.
Adult-onset asthma is serious
Although symptoms of asthma are the same for adults and kids — and both age groups respond to the same treatments — adult asthma can cause lung function to decline more rapidly. In addition, asthma symptoms in adults are generally more difficult to control. Without treatment, adults are also more likely to experience asthma-related death than children are.
Get help and relief
Although asthma can be more persistent and harder to control when it appears during adulthood, you can start managing it as soon as you receive your diagnosis at Houston Family MD. We personalize your care according to your needs.
We may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, and inhalers. We help you identify triggers so that you can avoid them. We may also recommend allergy treatments or allergy shots to calm down your immune system and reduce the number of attacks. Finally, we help you develop an asthma action plan so that you know what to do if an asthma attack strikes.
Are you wheezing or short of breath? To schedule an asthma evaluation with Dr. Grewal, contact our office by phone or email. You can also book an appointment online.