What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Adult Onset Asthma
Regardless of age, asthma symptoms can include:
Dry cough, especially at night or in response to specific triggers
Tightness or pressure in the chest
Wheezing a whistling sound when exhaling
Shortness of breath after exercise or physical exertion
Colds that go to the chest or hang on for 10 days or more
Pulmonary Structure And Function
Additional data suggest that advanced age, irrespective of any concomitant pulmonary disease, is associated with increased bronchial hyperresponsiveness.9,89 In a study of 148 subjects, ranging from age 5 to 76 years, age had an independent association with bronchial hyperresponsiveness as measured by a methacholine challenge.9 In another study, bronchial hyperresponsiveness to histamine challenge was associated with increased eosinophil count and allergic sensitization however, older age maintained an independent association with bronchial hyperresponsiveness, which was more prominent in subjects with respiratory symptoms.42 In addition to age, it is recognized that smoking and the baseline forced expiratory volume in 1 second have strong effects on bronchial hyperresponsiveness.90,91 Furthermore, aging is associated with a progressive decline in lung function.92 Coupled with these findings, breathing is exaggerated through increased air trapping and a reduction in chest wall compliance with increased age.93 Actually, it is reported that bronchodilators, such as long-acting beta2 agonist , have an add-on effect to inhaled corticosteroid .94
The Role Of Oral Corticosteroids In Acute Exacerbations Of Asthma In Young Children
Numerous studies have been undertaken to assess the role of corticosteroid therapy in acute episodes of asthma in children and adults.110 Meta-analyses of these studies support the early use of systemic corticosteroids in acute exacerbations based upon a reduction in the admission rate for asthma and prevention of relapse in the outpatient treatment of exacerbations.111,112 As a reflection of such information, the most recent National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma recommend the addition of corticosteroids for asthma exacerbations unresponsive to bronchodilators in contrast to previous versions of these guidelines, doubling the dose of inhaled corticosteroids to prevent further progression of the airway obstruction is not recommended.113
Theresa W. Guilbert, … Robert F. LemanskeJr, in, 2010
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Why Should I Worry About Pneumonia
People with asthma have a higher risk of developing pneumonia due to previous lung damage or weakness of the lung tissue caused by asthma. In fact, pneumonia is a leading cause of hospitalization in children and adults. How your body responds to pneumonia depends on which type of infection you have, your age and overall health. While anyone can get pneumonia, people living with asthma are more likely to develop pneumonia after getting sick with the flu than people without asthma. Adults 65 or older living with asthma have a 5.9 times greater risk than their healthy counterparts of contracting pneumococcal pneumonia. This is because as you get older, your bodys immune system naturally weakens making it harder for our bodies to fight off infections. It can also take you longer to recover and you are more likely to develop serious complications. Assess and understand your risk for getting pneumococcal pneumonia by taking our quick risk assessment.
What Are The Costs Of Asthma
- From 2008-2013, the annual economic cost of asthma was more than $81.9 billion including medical costs and loss of work and school days:9
- $3 billion in losses due to missed work and school days
- $29 billion due to asthma-related mortality
- $50.3 billion in medical costs
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Why Is Adult Onset
Adult onset-asthma symptoms are often blamed on other chronic health issues more common in adults, such as:
- Heart failure
- Stomach problems and conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Physical deconditioning caused by inactivity, excess weight, or the effects of aging
- Hiatal hernia
The delay in an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment often leads to worsening lung function that makes adult-onset asthma more difficult to treat from the start.
Unfortunately, many of the medications used to treat asthma can interfere with the drugs used for coexisting, adult-type conditions such as heart failure, hypertension, and many others. This makes it more difficult to design an effective treatment strategy for adults with asthma.
Also, the muscles in your chest wall become weaker and lungs lose elasticity as you age, which can increase the problems associated with asthma and decrease the effectiveness of treatment in adults. This makes it doubly important that your asthma treatment plan is tailored to fit your circumstance.
For an effective, customized treatment plan thats designed to address the effects of adult-onset asthma, schedule an evaluation at Tristate Pulmonary Medical Practice today. Call our office or book your visit online.
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Is It Triggered By Allergies
There are numerous triggers for asthma, and people will often soon work out what their individual trigger is.
The NHS says common triggers include
- Allergies to house dust mites, animal fur or pollen
- Smoke, pollution and cold air
- Infections like colds or flu
But in adults, asthma triggers are less likely to be allergies, such as pets, pollen, house or dust mites, and more likely brought on by hormonal changes or work-related.
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The Symptoms Of Adult
When you have asthma, the condition causes the airways to narrow, swell and produce extra mucus. When this occurs, you may experience a number of symptoms, including:
- Chest congestion
- Shortness of breath, particularly after being physically active
- Wheezing when you exhale
Those who have adult-onset asthma may also find it more difficult to recover after seemingly minor viruses, such as the common cold. Colds and other viruses may be more likely to move into the chest and linger, causing coughing and other symptoms to flare up.
While asthma may come and go during childhood, its more likely to persist in adults. This makes it important to take steps to manage the condition.
Video: What Happens After Being Diagnosed With Asthma
Transcript of ‘What happens after being diagnosed with asthma?’
0:00 It can be really scary to be told you have asthma and it’s natural to worry about how it might affect your life. The
0:08 good news is that there’s lots of support out there to help you manage the condition and to help you to stay well.
0:15 You may wonder if your asthma can be cured. Well, even though we don’t have a cure for asthma at the moment, there’s so much we can do with the right medicines,
0:25 the right treatments, the right advice and support to help you stay well, so that the asthma won’t affect your life,
0:31 whether it be work or your play. You might find that when you’re just diagnosed with asthma it takes a little
0:38 bit of time to get your medicines just right so that you are living without symptoms every day. Be patient, hang on in there.
0:47 The most important thing is to develop a really good relationship with your doctor or nurse. With them you can draw up an asthma action plan, which you can
0:56 download from our website. That’ll really help you to manage your asthma well, and we know that you’re four times less likely to need to go to hospital if
1:04 you’ve got one of these. So, if you have just been diagnosed with asthma, try and stay positive. There’s so much you can do to stay well. You can visit our website,
1:14 or phone one of our friendly asthma nurse specialists, or even join a forum. Remember that we’re here to help.
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What Is Asthma Anyway
First up, a little anatomy refresher: Your airways, which extend between your nose and mouth and your lungs, have the very important job of carrying air in and out of your body, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . When you have asthma, triggers like animal fur, pollen, mold, cold air, cigarette smoke, exercise, and respiratory infections like colds cause your airways to get inflamed, according to the NHLBI. That inflammation can cause swelling, which in turn can prompt the muscles around your airways to tighten, making it hard to get air in and out. At the same time, your airways might also expel more mucus than they usually do, making it even harder to breathe.
Experts dont know exactly what causes some people to get asthma when others dont, but its pretty safe to assume that its probably a combination of environmental factors and genetic factors. For example, if someone in your immediate family has asthma, youre more likely to have it too, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Beyond that, the general cause is a stronger-than-normal response from your immune system to certain triggers, which is why you get all that inflammation when people without asthma dont, says the NHLBI.
Adult Vs Childhood Asthma
Its common for children to have asthma symptoms that come and go, for example triggered by allergy or a respiratory infection. Adult-onset asthma tends to have persistent symptoms that are often not associated with allergic triggers.
About one in ten adults with asthma have uncontrolled symptoms and exacerbations despite treatment. Such difficult-to-treat asthma can reduce quality of life and also lead to more deaths than we see with childhood asthma. We dont know why adult asthma doesnt respond as well to treatment as childhood asthma. It may be because adult lungs can be stiff and function less well than a childs lungs. Also the bodys immune response may change as we get older.
Its reassuring to remember that death from asthma in adulthood is still uncommon.
Adults also tend to have other illnesses that are affected by asthma and allergy medications. For example oral steroids can worsen the symptoms of glaucoma, cataracts and osteoporosis.
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Childhood Asthma Vs Asthma In Adults
The symptoms of asthma are the same for children and adults. The symptoms for children, though, are generally more intermittent and may lessen or go away during puberty.
Adult-onset asthma is often more severe. The symptoms are more persistent. Adults are more likely to have frequent asthma attacks, and it does not go away with time. Adults may require daily medications to control their asthma.
When To See A Gp
See a GP if you think you or your child may have asthma.
Several conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment.
The GP will usually be able to diagnose asthma by asking about symptoms and carrying out some simple tests.
Find out more about how asthma is diagnosed.
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What Are Asthma Triggers
Medications play a central role in an asthma treatment plan. They focus on:
- Preventing or reducing airway inflammation
- Interrupting the allergic reaction that triggers symptoms
- Relieving coughing and wheezing, making it easier to breathe
Your doctor will work with you to find the right medicines to manage your asthma. The type of medication and the amount you take will vary based on symptoms and the type of asthma you have. The goal of asthma treatment is to have you feel your best with the least amount of medicine.
It is important for you to get to know your medications. Understand how and why they treat and soothe your lungs and airways. If youre prescribed an inhaler, make sure you get one with a dose counter. Learn when and how youre supposed to use your inhaler and follow your treatment plan to better breathing.
Make sure your Asthma Action Plan is updated whenever medications are changed.
What are the types of asthma medications?
There are several different types of asthma medications used in an asthma management plan:
Your doctor may also prescribe allergy medications to treat any allergy symptoms you may have.
Signs You Actually Have Severe Asthma
Breathing is just one of those things you take for granted until it feels like every inhale or exhale is a struggle. Unfortunately, people with severe asthma have to deal with breathing issues way more often than anyone should, and it can be completely terrifying.
Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects the airways that extend from your nose and mouth to your lungs, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . When youre exposed to triggers like animal fur, pollen, mold, exercise, and respiratory infections, these airways can narrow, restricting your airflow. This can then make the muscles surrounding your airways constrict, making it even harder to breathe, and cause your airways to produce more mucus than normal, further compounding the problem. All together, this can lead to asthma symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing , and chest tightness or pain, according to the NHLBI.
Like most health conditions, asthma severity runs along a spectrum, Emily Pennington, M.D., a pulmonologist at the Cleveland Clinic, tells SELF. Some people have cases where they experience minor symptoms here and there . Others can have asthma that is basically an ever-present problem and might result in scary asthma attacks, which is when symptoms ramp up in severity and can even become life-threatening.
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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?
What Is Airway Inflammation
Inflammation is the root of the problem in asthma.3 Even when you are not experiencing asthma symptoms, your airways can still be inflamed.6 Inflammation leads to:3
- Airway sensitivity
- Limited airflow
Inflammation makes the airways very sensitive to allergens, mold, chemicals, cold air, and viruses.4 The airways react to these triggers by becoming narrow, which makes it difficult for you to breathe out.3
Inflammation, sensitivity, and obstruction can interact in different ways, meaning that everyones asthma is a little different.3 A person with asthma can have some or all of the typical symptoms. Asthma can be mild, moderate, or severe. Certain medications work better for some people than others.
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How Many People Die From Asthma
- On average, 11 people in the U.S. die from asthma each day. In 2020, 4,145 people died from asthma. Nearly all of these deaths are avoidable with the right treatment and care.8
- In 2020, deaths due to asthma rose for the first time in 20 years. 8
Asthma Symptoms In Adults
Shortness of breath that occurs when you are performing a simple exercise such as walking to the mailbox or climbing the stairs: If its an everyday occurrence, the symptom is known as dyspnea on exertion. It shouldnt be confused with shortness of breath following an illness or strenuous exercise.
A persistent cough from asthma is a dry cough that occurs in response to asthma triggers such as a cold, allergies or smoke. The cough is more likely to happen at night. Chest tightness and cold symptoms that hang in the chest for an extended period of time are also sometimes symptoms of asthma.
Wheezing or a whistling sound when you exhale is another asthma symptom. Having difficulty breathing is a common complaint from many asthma patients.
Factors that affect adult-onset asthma include:
- Exposure to environmental elements either at work or home that cause allergy-like symptoms
- Medical history of allergies
- Living now or in the past in a smoking household
- Family history of asthma
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How Many People Seek Medical Care For Asthma
- In 2018, asthma accounted for 5.8 million doctors office visits.5
- In 2018, asthma accounted for 178,530 discharges from hospital inpatient care and 1.6 million emergency department visits.6,7
- Black people in the U.S. are nearly five times more likely than white people in the U.S. to visit the emergency department due to asthma.7