Asthma Can Start At Any Age And Since Adult
Many assume asthma is a disease that first turns up in childhood. But you can develop asthma as an adult, and many people do.
Its not uncommon for people at any age, even over 50, to be diagnosed with asthma.
Adults can develop asthma from infections like bronchitis or pneumonia, or from allergies and irritants like smoke or mold, but the cause is often unclear.
Kentucky has the highest percentage of adults with asthma in the country, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Kentuckys adult death rate from asthma is 10.2 per million, slightly higher than the national norm.
Adult-onset asthma can be more dangerous because its easy to attribute the symptoms to being overweight, out of shape or just getting older. Its critical to get diagnosed quickly and begin treatment before lung function is reduced permanently.
Asthma Can Cause Short
Asthma complications that develop over the short run, include:
Problems Engaging in Normal Daily Activities According to;David Rosenstreich, MD, chief of the division of allergy and immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, symptoms of asthma like coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath may prevent you from attending work or school, impacting your productivity.
Asthma symptoms may also interfere with sleep or prevent you from exercising or engaging in other leisure or social activities. Disengagement from all of these activities can affect your overall health and increase your risk for conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
People who have;poorly controlled asthma, either because of failure to adhere to treatment or because asthma is difficult to control with treatment,;are more likely to experience work and overall activity impairments than people who have asthma under control.
Severe Asthma Attacks Up to 10 percent of people who have asthma may have whats termed severe asthma. For these people, asthma symptoms occur daily and are often difficult to control, says Patricia Takach, MD, an associate professor of clinical medicine in the Section of Allergy and Immunology at the University of Pennsylvanias Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
Some severe asthma attacks may require a trip to the emergency room or require hospitalization. Seek immediate medical attention if your symptoms are not responding to your usual treatment.
How Can You Prevent Asthma Attacks
You can prevent some asthma attacks by avoiding those things that cause them. These are called triggers. A trigger can be:
- Irritants in the air, such as cigarette smoke or other kinds of air pollution. Don’t smoke, and try to avoid being around others when they smoke.
- Things you are allergic to, such as pet dander, dust mites, cockroaches, or pollen. When you can, avoid those things you are allergic to. It may also help to take certain kinds of allergy medicine.
- Exercise. Ask your doctor about using a quick-relief inhaler before you exercise if this is a trigger for you.
- Other things like dry, cold air; an infection; or some medicines, such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . Try not to exercise outside when it is cold and dry. Talk to your doctor about vaccines to prevent some infections. And ask about what medicines you should avoid.
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How Do You Get Asthma
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease caused by inflammation of the airways.; Common symptoms are wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.; Asthma is believed to be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors.; Although you cannot control your genetic makeup, you can control some of the environmental factors that may cause you to develop asthma.
Asthma triggers include:
- Chemical fumes
- Air pollution
- Workplace exposures
Medical studies on the prevalence of asthma have identified some interesting patterns.; The strongest risk factor for developing asthma is a history of atopic disease .; This increases the risk of both hay fever and asthma.
In children between 3-14, a positive skin test for allergies and an increase in immunoglobulin E increases the chance of having asthma.; In adults, the more allergens reacted to during a skin test, the higher the odds of having asthma.
Other patterns that increase the risk of developing asthma include:
- Maternal smoking during and after pregnancy
- Antibiotic use early in life
- Presence of cockroaches in the home
You might be wondering about the reference above to obesity.; It is thought that respiratory function decreases due to the buildup of adipose tissue and the fact that fat supports the development of inflammation in the body.7; ;A study in Taiwan actually correlated asthma symptoms with each 20% increase in body mass index .; This should encourage all of us to maintain a healthy weight!
How Is Airway Sensitivity Measured
It is possible to measure how sensitive your airways with a methacholine challenge.3 This test rules out conditions that mimic asthma, such as vocal cord dysfunction and other obstructive lung diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Finding out that you have sensitive airways helps to confirm the diagnosis of asthma.
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Asthma Triggers In Adults
People with asthma have airways that are more sensitive to some things that may not impact people without asthma. The things that set off or start symptoms are called triggers.
Adults with asthma are sensitive to the same kinds of triggers as younger people. However, every person with asthma has a different experience, and everyone may have a different trigger. You may have more than one trigger which flares up your asthma symptoms.
Triggers may include:
- in certain circumstances, thunderstorms.
Remember, for most people with asthma, triggers are only a problem when asthma is not well-controlled with preventer medicine.
Treatments For A Healthy And Active Life
It takes an expert to properly diagnose asthma and Dr. Ispas performs both a breathing study and a pulmonary function test. This includes spirometry, where you breathe into a tube to measure the air you take in and out, and doing the same test when inhaling methacholine. Both shows her the health and condition of your lungs.;
We then need to understand what triggers your symptoms and address those. They can include allergens, respiratory tract infections, activity and exercise, and even emotions. If you have allergy-induced asthma, Dr. Ispas performs a full allergy test. Keep in mind that adult-onset allergies can also occur, and immunotherapy shots help.;
For the specific asthma symptoms, we prescribe an inhaler or nebulizer for almost immediate relief during an attack or long term medication in the form of pills or an inhaler. Asthma at any age cannot be cured, but it can be treated. Let us help you live a healthy and active life. or use the convenient Request Appointment button here.
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Personal And Family History
- Gender and age. Women and men seem to have the same risk of getting asthma until they reach their 40s. After 40, women have a higher risk for asthma.
- A family history of allergies and asthma. People who have an allergy and asthma usually have a family history of allergies or asthma.
- Airways that overreact. People who inherit a tendency of the airways to overreact often get asthma.
- A history of allergy. If you have an allergy, you are more likely than others to have asthma. Most children and many adults with asthma have atopic dermatitis, allergies, or both.
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Asthma
If you think that you have asthma, the best thing you can do is see your healthcare provider as soon as possible for proper testing and diagnosis. Many people normalize their symptoms, without ever realizing that a symptom-free life could be possible. Its crucial to never ignore or downplay your asthma symptoms, you never know when something could trigger a potentially fatal asthma attack.
The sooner that you get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, the sooner you can take control of your asthma and live life to the fullest.
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What To Think About
One of the best tools for managing asthma is a daily controller medicine that has a corticosteroid . But some people worry about taking steroid medicines because of myths they’ve heard about them. If you’re making a decision about a steroid inhaler, it helps to know the facts.
At the start of asthma treatment, the number and dosage of medicines are chosen to get the asthma under control. Your doctor may start you at a higher dose within your asthma classification so that the inflammation is controlled right away. After the asthma has been controlled for several months, the dose of the last medicine added is reduced to the lowest possible dose that prevents symptoms. This is known as step-down care. Step-down care is believed to be a better way to control inflammation in the airways than starting at lower doses of medicine and increasing the dose if it is not enough.footnote 10
Because quick-relief medicine quickly reduces symptoms, people sometimes overuse these medicines instead of using the slower-acting long-term medicines. But overuse of quick-relief medicines may have harmful effects, such as reducing how well these medicines will work for you in the future.footnote 11
You may have to take more than one medicine each day to manage your asthma. Help yourself remember when to take each medicine, such as taping a note to your refrigerator to remind yourself.
How Childhood And Adult
Over 25 million people in the United States have asthma. Its a condition that must be treated, or you risk doing permanent damage to your lungs. Unfortunately, asthma at any age cannot be cured, only controlled and managed. While there are similarities, childhood and adult-onset asthma differ.
At Allergy Asthma & Immunology Institute in Leesburg, Virginia we offer long term asthma strategies or same-day appointments for urgent situations. Laura Ispas, MD, discovers each patients allergies and triggers and creates a specialized plan to treat those specific concerns. Controlling your asthma is a long term process, but one that can be done.;
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Why Are More People Getting Asthma And Allergies
Some researchers put the increase in asthma and other allergic conditions over the last few decades down to the fact that we live in much cleaner, more urban conditions.;This means we have less contact with the friendly bacteria that thrive in more rural, natural environments.
Along with fewer childhood infections, this has resulted in lowered immunity, and more chance of allergies, including asthma.
The ‘hygiene hypothesis’
The idea that were missing out on exposure to useful microbes early in life began to be considered a while back with a theory known as the hygiene hypothesis. This was based on evidence that children growing up in large families, in unhygienic homes, had fewer allergies, including asthma.
More recent research suggests babies exposed to friendly bacteria in the first few months of their lives are thought to have less risk of developing asthma and allergies.
This is why some studies show that children growing up on farms have fewer allergies, and other studies show that having a dog in the house when your baby is very small can protect them from allergies and asthma. The studies are based on exposure to friendly microbes in babies less than two or three months old.;
But being around animals, or being in a natural environment, may not necessarily protect your child against asthma other factors need to be taken into account, such as if theres a family history of allergy and asthma.;
Children With Allergies Can Go On To Develop Asthma
If your child tends to get allergies theyre said to be atopic. Being prone to allergies is usually something that runs in families. And if your child has one allergy theyre more likely to get another one.
For example, children with eczema, and a family history of allergy, are more at risk of developing asthma than other children. ;
GPs and researchers talk about the atopic march, says Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UKs in-house GP.;This is when allergies appear in children in a certain order, depending on their age.
Sometimes allergies overlap, and sometimes your child will switch from one allergy to another. A small child with eczema may go on to have a food allergy, and then, as they get older, hay fever, and then asthma.;
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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.
What Causes An Asthma Flare
Things that can cause you to have an asthma flare-up are called triggers. Different kids have different triggers. Common triggers include:
- breathing in things that cause allergies , such as dust, pollen, dander from animals, and mold
- breathing in things that irritate your airways, like cigarette smoke, perfume, and chalk dust
- infections, like a cold or the flu
- breathing in cold air
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What Kind Of Physician Treats Adult Onset Asthma
Many older patients are treated for asthma by their internist or family physician; however, if your asthma symptoms are not under control within three to six months, or if you have severe persistent asthma, or if you are having asthma episodes that need emergency treatment, it may be time to see an asthma specialist. Allergists/Immunologists or pulmonologists are specialists who treat asthma. Those who have completed training in those specialties are usually called board-certified or board-eligible.
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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Preparing For Your Gp Appointment
A little bit of preparation can help you to get the most of your first GP appointment. It may even speed up the process so you can get diagnosed more quickly.
Have answers at the ready;
Think about your family history.
- Does anyone in your family have asthma?
- Does anyone in your family have allergies?
- Do you have any allergies, including eczema or hay fever?
Your answers to these questions could help your GP work out if asthma is more likely.
Keep a diary of your symptoms;
Note down how often and when you have symptoms. For example, are your symptoms worse at night, early in the morning, or when youre at work?
Keeping a diary or a chart of your symptoms and triggers can help your GP or asthma nurse see the pattern of your symptoms. Seeing how your symptoms are over time helps your GP to know if asthma is more likely.
Film symptoms on your phone;
Asthma can come and go, so you could have no symptoms when you go and see your GP.
Try filming yourself on your phone – or ask someone else to when youre having symptoms. Then you can show the GP or asthma nurse exactly what it was like, without having to try and describe it with words.
But dont delay getting help if symptoms are getting worse though!
Jot down your questions
Spacers For Asthma Medication
It is recommended that all people with asthma, regardless of age, use a spacer when taking medication via a metered-dose inhaler .
Spacers help to improve the delivery of asthma medication to the lungs and minimise side effects from medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about spacers and how they might help you manage your asthma.
;which demonstrate how to use a puffer and spacer.
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How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Exercise
Your provider will ask about your symptoms, including when you have them and how long they last. After listening to your lungs, your provider will ask you to perform an activity that usually triggers your symptoms . Then your provider will measure your lung function with a spirometry test.
During spirometry, you exhale as much air as you can as fast as possible. You breathe into a tube attached to a machine called a spirometer. The machine measures how well your lungs work after exercise.