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Can Asthma Get Worse With Age

How Will You Know When Your Child’s Asthma Is Well

Asthma & Age: Difficult Diagnosing Asthma As We Get Older

You will know that your child’s asthma is well-controlled if, while on medications, your child:

  • Lives an active, normal life.
  • Has few troublesome symptoms.
  • Performs daily activities without difficulty.
  • Has had no urgent visits to the doctor, emergency department or hospital.
  • Has few or no side effects from the medications.

Asthma Symptoms: 5 Signs Your Shortness Of Breath Is Serious

If you suffer from shortness of breath, youre not alone. Its a common symptom and one that prompts many people to see a doctor or seek other medical treatment. Knowing when your shortness of breath is an emergency isnt always easy. It can be the result of hyperventilation, acid reflux, or a panic attack cases when shortness of breath usually recedes on its own or more serious issues involving your respiratory health. There are many possible causes of shortness of breath, as well as signs that its time to seek medical help.

About Cockroaches Other Pests And Asthma

Droppings or body parts of cockroaches and other pests can trigger asthma. Certain proteins are found in cockroach feces and saliva and can cause allergic reactions or trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals.

Cockroaches are commonly found in crowded cities and the southern regions of the United States. Cockroach allergens likely play a significant role in asthma in many urban areas.

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The Need For Understanding

Despite of thousands of studies, the major problem to progress with diagnosis and therapy of asthma seems to be the lack of understanding how different cell types and pro-inflammatory, as well as inflammatory mechanisms affect each other. It would be a big step forward if future studies would be able to monitor a small cohort of patients from the first diagnosis of asthma over several years with unchanged methods of analysis. These studies should obtain samples like blood, sputum, or bronchial fluids on a regular basis of short intervals , and compare the clinical parameters with metabolomic, proteomic, and transcriptomic analyse. The aim of such studies should be to determine if biomarkers and therapeutic targets for asthma vary with time, and condition, or if they are stable indicators for the disease. Only when we know if the biomarkers are stable or specific for a condition such as exacerbation or allergic response we will be able to use them as diagnostic tools.

Symptoms Of An Asthma Attack

Asthma Getting Worse With Age

Signs that you may be having an asthma attack include:

  • your symptoms are getting worse
  • your reliever inhaler is not helping
  • youre too breathless to speak, eat or sleep
  • your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you cannot catch your breath
  • your peak flow score is lower than normal
  • children may also complain of a tummy or chest ache

The symptoms will not necessarily occur suddenly. In fact, they often come on slowly over a few hours or days.

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How Is Asthma Different When Youre Older

You may notice new challenges with your asthma as you get older. For example:

  • Symptoms may feel harder to control
  • It can take longer to recover from an asthma attack or get over colds and flu
  • Side effects from asthma medicines can be more noticeable
  • Other conditions alongside asthma are more common.

Some of these challenges are to do with natural ageing. As we get older, our lungs are less strong, and our immune system can take longer to fight off infection.

The good news is, there are plenty of ways to manage these changes, with your GPs support, says Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UKs in-house GP. And positive things you can do to keep your body and mind healthy in later life.

Diagnosed with asthma later in life?

Asthma diagnosed later in life is known as late-onset asthma. This kind of asthma is more common in women, often starting around the menopause.

Symptoms sometimes start after a viral infection. Some people may have needed steroid tablets or an inhaler for chest symptoms a while before they were given a diagnosis, says Dr Andy.

Late-onset asthma is often harder to control with the usual asthma medicines. Your GP will need to consider add on treatments, like LTRAs , or long acting bronchodilators, for extra support.

Its not uncommon for late-onset asthma to go undiagnosed or to be misdiagnosed as another condition, like a chest infection or heart disease, says Dr Andy.

Childhood asthma come back?

Why Is Asthma Difficult To Diagnose In Older Adults

A diagnosis of asthma may be missed in an older person because symptoms of other health conditions are similar to asthma symptoms and may mask the specific symptoms. Asthma symptoms among older adults are more likely to take the form of coughing with the production of sputum from the lungs. Your physician might interpret those symptoms as being due to other illnesses, such as chronic bronchitis or congestive heart failure. In particular, heart disease and emphysema, much more common in older adults, especially smokers, can mimic asthma symptoms.

Good to know . . . One of the ways in which asthma is recognized among younger people is by the symptoms of wheezing and difficulty breathing following exercise. When older adults become inactive, the opportunity for asthma to present itself lessens. If you experience asthma symptoms wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, chronic cough with your regular activities such as housework, shopping, gardening, or walking, be sure to talk with your physician as soon as possible.

When the asthma symptoms are not recognized correctly, they may remain untreated, likely worsening and creating very serious health risks.

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What Asthma Types Have In Common

Asthma has certain features that remain the same across most types:

  • Classic symptoms:Wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, cough, asthma attacks
  • Causes/risk factors: Genetics and environmental exposures
  • Diagnosis:Pulmonary function tests and assessing response to asthma medications
  • Treatment: A rescue inhaler for asthma attacks and possibly daily inhaled or oral medications to prevent symptoms

Because of this, it’s easy to assume that all types of asthma are fundamentally the same. While that’s true to a certain extent, the differences between the types matter. That makes an accurate diagnosis crucial.

Getting The Diagnosis Correct

Asthma & Age

One man in his 60s ended up going to Wechslers Cohen Family Asthma Institute at NJH after seeing two physicians who had incorrectly diagnosed him with COPD.

The man had been coughing and wheezing, and became short of breath, Wechsler said. The doctors gave him a rescue inhaler, but they did not treat him for ongoing airway inflammation.

When the man failed to improve, he went to NJH, underwent a series of sophisticated tests, and was correctly diagnosed with asthma.

To define if a patient has asthma, we do a pulmonary test, spirometry, to determine if there is any airflow obstruction consistent with asthma, and then assess the degree of reversibility, Wechsler said. If we see asthmatic symptoms plus airflow reversibility, we can assess the degree of hyper responsiveness. Imaging by CAT scans helps us look for other components. The patient may have sinus disease, reflux, post-nasal drip, or aspiration.

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How Can I Help My Child Live With Asthma

You can help manage your childs asthma by:

  • Finding out your childs triggers and keeping him or her away from them.
  • Giving your child medicine as directed to prevent symptoms.
  • Creating and keeping an Asthma Action Plan.
  • Closely watching asthma signs and symptoms to know when they are getting worse.
  • Knowing what to do when asthma gets worse.
  • Making sure your child has proper emergency medication and paperwork on file with his or her school.

Work with your childs health care provider to find the best way to take care of your childs asthma. There are guidelines for children from newborn to age 4, ages 5 to 11, and ages 12 and older.

The more information a person with asthma has, the better the asthma can be controlled.

Contact Doctor During Office Hours

  • Dont have written asthma action plan from your doctor
  • Use an inhaler, but dont have a spacer
  • Miss more than 1 day of school per month for asthma
  • Asthma limits exercise or sports
  • Asthma attacks wake child up from sleep
  • Use more than 1 inhaler per month
  • No asthma check-up in more than 1 year
  • You have other questions or concerns

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How Do I Know If My Child Really Does Have Asthma

A doctors work-up will start with a medical history including symptoms and family history. A physical exam will also be done. Pulmonary function testing with spirometry can provide information about lung function and severity of the asthma. A chest X-ray may be ordered to help visualize the lungs. Allergy testing can be done to determine if allergies play a role in symptoms. Additional tests may be done to investigate other causes of symptoms.

The Role Of Age On Asthma Related Quality Of Life Medication Use And Healthcare Utilization

Does your asthma get worse in winter?

Consistent with the greater probability of severe asthma, older asthmatics had more severe airflow obstruction , and were more likely to require treatment with high dose inhaled corticosteroids and long acting beta agonists Table 3. They also had a lower quality of life as compared to younger asthmatics . Unadjusted analysis revealed that older asthmatics expressed higher use of healthcare resources. They had a higher need for Emergency Room or Urgent Care treatment, and a higher rate of hospitalization and visits to the treating physicians office. However, after adjustment for age related comorbidities, the use of healthcare resource was similar in younger and older asthmatics Table 3.

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Video: Signs That Your Asthma Is Getting Worse

Transcript for Signs that your asthma is getting worse

0:00 Asthma attacks rarely happen out of the blue.

0:03 They often take a few days to build up.

0:07 Asthma is different for everybody.

0:10 By learning how to recognise when your asthma symptoms are getting worse,

0:14 itll help you to stay in control.

0:18 So, signs that your asthma is getting worse are variable.

0:23 The most common sort of signs are you may feel some wheezing,

0:26 you may have a cough, you may find a tightness in your chest.

0:32 If you keep a peak flow diary, you may find that your peak flow scores are reducing a bit.

0:45 If your symptoms continue to be worse and youre using your blue inhaler a lot,

0:56 especially if youre not sure what to do next.

0:59 We can discuss whats been going on with you

1:01 and make a plan for a way forward.

1:05 If you are using your preventer inhaler as prescribed,

1:09 every day, even when youre well and using really good inhaler technique,

1:14 and despite this, your asthma symptoms are getting worse,

1:18 its a good idea to see your GP.

Related resources

Adult action plan

Using an asthma action plan will help you to stay well. Download and fill in with your GP.

You Wake Up Coughing And Wheezing During The Night

If youre ever jolted awake in the middle of the night by a fit of coughing or wheezing, you may need to modify your asthma management plan.

Properly managed asthma shouldnt wake you up from sleep more than 1 or 2 nights a month. If youre losing sleep due to your symptoms more than this, it may be time to discuss treatment modifications with your doctor.

Your peak flow readings measure how well your lungs are functioning at their best. This is usually tested at home with a handheld device called a peak flow meter.

If youre a peak flow meter user, and your peak flow levels drop below 80 percent of your personal best, it may be a sign that your severe asthma is poorly managed.

Another sign that your asthma is getting worse is if your peak flow reading varies greatly from day to day. If you notice low or inconsistent numbers, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

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Asthma Triggers: Gain Control

This video features medical professionals, families and children living with asthma.

Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, and indoor allergens and irritants play a significant role in triggering asthma attacks. Triggers are things that can cause asthma symptoms, an episode or attack or make asthma worse. If you have asthma, you may react to just one trigger or you may find that several things act as triggers. Be sure to work with a doctor to identify triggers and develop a treatment plan that includes ways to reduce exposures to your asthma triggers.

On this page:

When Does Asthma Develop

How does asthma work? – Christopher E. Gaw

Asthma can develop at any point during ones life, in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

Asthma can start slowly with symptoms of shortness of breath, cough, and chest tightness over months to years. Because these symptoms are nonspecific, asthma can be difficult to diagnose.

Asthma may also have a rapid and sudden onset, with or without any exposure. It is very common for asthma to have a late-onset or resurgence in patients who are older than 65 years of age.

This typically happens in patients who had some symptoms as a child only to develop a full-fledged asthma problem in the later stage of their life.

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Asthma And Menopause: Whats The Connection

It may seem odd that two seemingly unrelated conditions menopause and asthma are linked. But the connection becomes a heck of a lot clearer once you understand one fact

Asthma is influenced by hormones.

Research shows that one-third of women have worse asthma symptoms just before or during their period, that teen girls are more likely to develop asthma than teen boys and that women are more likely to develop asthma during or after a pregnancy all because of hormones.

So its no wonder then that menopausal women who are going through the biggest hormonal shift of their adult life are at an increased risk. It makes perfect sense. But its also incredibly unfair.

Why do menopausal women who are already dealing with hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, insomnia, brain fog and weight gain have to deal with asthma too? And a pretty serious form of it at that

Adult-onset asthma tends to be more serious than the kind that strikes during childhood. Asthma symptoms come and go during childhood, but adults who develop asthma usually have symptoms that stick around and require medication.

So if youre a woman entering mid-life, you need to stay alert for the signs of asthma even if youve never had it before. Asthma symptoms include:

  • Feeling short of breath
  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath that leads to insomnia
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Coughing or wheezing attacks worsened by a cold or the flu

Diagnosis Of Asthma In Children

Diagnosing asthma in children younger than 5 years can be difficult because children cough or wheeze for many different reasons. Take your child to the doctor if:

  • the wheezing happens more than once with or without an illness
  • constant coughing or bouts of coughing become worse at night
  • you are concerned about any breathing problems in your child.

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Keep A Diary Of Your Childs Symptoms

Keep a diary of symptoms to discuss with your doctor. The diary could include:

  • a video or audio recording of the wheezing you could use your mobile phone
  • when the symptoms occur such as during the day or worse at night
  • how bad the symptoms are and how often they happen
  • how long the symptoms remain and whether they change with time
  • whether the symptoms are worse after exercise, playing or after an infection
  • whether the symptoms are worse after exposure to animals, pollens or mould.

How Long Asthma Lasts For

Asthma in Later Adulthood

Asthma is a long-term condition for many people, particularly if it first develops when you’re an adult.

In children, it sometimes goes away or improves during the teenage years, but can come back later in life.

The symptoms can usually be controlled with treatment. Most people will have normal, active lives, although some people with more severe asthma may have ongoing problems.

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What Should You Do If Your Child Has An Asthma Attack

If your child is showing symptoms of an asthma attack:

  • Give your child their reliever medicine according to the asthma action plan.
  • Wait 15 minutes. If the symptoms go away, your child should be able to resume whatever activity they were doing. If symptoms persist, follow the Asthma Action Plan for further therapy.
  • If your child fails to improve, or if you aren’t sure what action to take, call your care provider.

The danger signs of an asthma attack are:

  • Severe wheezing.
  • Trouble walking and/or talking,
  • Blue lips and/or fingernails.

If your child has any of these danger signs/symptoms, go to the nearest emergency department or call 911.

Youre Coughing And Wheezing More During The Day

Another sign that your severe asthma may be getting worse is if youre coughing or wheezing more often than usual.

Talk with your doctor about adjusting your treatment plan if you constantly feel like youre about to cough. Also speak with them if you find yourself wheezing with a whistle-like sound more than once a day.

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Causes And Triggers Of Asthma

Asthma is caused by swelling of the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. This makes the tubes highly sensitive, so they temporarily narrow.

It may happen randomly or after exposure to a trigger.

Common asthma triggers include:

  • allergies
  • smoke, pollution and cold air
  • exercise
  • infections like colds or flu

Identifying and avoiding your asthma triggers can help you keep your symptoms under control.

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