Recognizing Asthma Signs And Symptoms In Adults
You can develop asthma as an adult or a child. Adults dont always recognize their asthma signs and symptoms, however. One of the reasons that its difficult to identify asthma in adults is because people tend to think of asthma as a childhood disease. Asthma at any age can be dangerous. Make sure you realize that the disease can develop in adulthood, and know how to recognize signs and symptoms of asthma.
You Have A Cough That Doesnt Go Away
Most of us associate a cough with a cold or bronchitis, but it can also signal asthma. Your cough becomes worse after you laugh or lie downand it comes from the chest, not the throat, says Dr. Lockey. In one type of asthma, known as cough-variant asthma, the only symptom is a chronic cough. The best treatment for people with cough-variant asthma tends to be prescription medication, as over-the-counter varieties arent strong enough to offer relief. If these home remedies for coughs dont get you better, have a doctor check it out, and try eating these 12 foods that may help you breathe better.
Adult Versus Childhood Asthma
When a child is diagnosed with asthma, they typically experience symptoms intermittently. They might develop symptoms when exposed to specific triggers or a respiratory infection.
In contrast, adults diagnosed with asthma later in life usually have persistent symptoms.
Asthma in adults can also be more challenging to manage. This is because its more common for adult asthmatics to experience faster lung function decline than children. Likewise, adults are more likely to die from an asthma attack than children.
3,524² people died from asthma in 2019. As a result, its common for adult asthmatics to regularly take preventative asthma medications or have other asthma medications on hand to treat symptoms when they develop.
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Asthma Symptoms Can Mimic Other Illnesses Or Diseases Especially In Older Adults For Example:
- Hiatal hernia, stomach problems, heart failure, or rheumatic arthritis can create asthma-like symptoms.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease has many of the same symptoms as asthma. COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is very common in older adults especially those who are or have been smokers.
Sign Of Asthma In Adults Types Causes And Treatment
Asthma in adults is a serious condition that affects the air passages of the lungs. Asthma makes breathing difficult because the muscles around the airways tighten and swell. This swelling can make the airways narrower, causing wheezing which is heard when you breathe in or out. Although asthma can occur at any age, its most common in children and teens.
Asthma affects millions of people around the world. In the United States alone, over 25 million adults all over the country suffer from some kind of type of asthma.
While there is no cure for asthma, treatment can help control symptoms so that you can lead a more active life.
In This Article
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Asthma
- The most usual symptom of asthma is wheezing.
- This is a squealing or whistling sound that happens when you breathe.
Other asthma symptoms may involve:
- The type of asthma that you have can regulate which symptoms you experience.
- Some people experience symptoms consistently throughout the day.
- Others may find that certain activities can create symptoms worse.
- Not everyone with asthma will experience these specific symptoms.
- If you think the symptoms you are experiencing could be a sign of a condition like asthma, make an appointment to see your doctor.
- Also, keep in mind that even if your asthma is well-managed, you may also occasionally experience flare-ups of symptoms.
- Flare-ups often improve with the use of quick-acting treatments, like an inhaler, yet may require medical attention in severe cases.
Signs of an asthma flare-up may involve:
- blue lips or fingernails
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What Causes Asthma In Adults
No one knows what exactly causes asthma or what leads people to have different experiences.
The condition exhibits recurring episodes, also referred to as attacks or flare-ups. During an asthma attack, a number of things take place, including:
Your airway lining swells
The muscles in your chest tighten
More mucus is produced in your airway
The combination of these events makes breathing more challenging and can lead to symptoms such as wheezing and coughing.
You may discover particular triggers that cause your asthma symptoms and episodes, such as:
Allergens, like pollen, pet dander, dust, and food
Having another allergic reaction, such as hay fever
Exposure to pollution, secondhand smoke, or exhaust fumes
Exposure to occupational triggers, such as farming or hairdressing chemicals
Having a parent or sibling with asthma
Side Effects Of Relievers And Preventers
Relievers are a safe and effective medicine, and have few side effects as long as they are not used too much. The main side effects include a mild shaking of the hands , headaches and muscle cramps. These usually only happen with high doses of reliever inhaler and usually only last for a few minutes.
Preventers are very safe at usual doses, although they can cause a range of side effects at high doses, especially with long-term use.
The main side effect of preventer inhalers is a fungal infection of the mouth or throat . You may also develop a hoarse voice and sore throat.
Using a spacer can help prevent these side effects, as can rinsing your mouth or cleaning your teeth after using your preventer inhaler.
Your doctor or nurse will discuss with you the need to balance control of your asthma with the risk of side effects, and how to keep side effects to a minimum.
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What Types Of Asthma Are There
Asthma is broken down into types based on the cause and the severity of symptoms. Healthcare providers identify asthma as:
- Intermittent: This type of asthma comes and goes so you can feel normal in between asthma flares.
- Persistent: Persistent asthma means you have symptoms much of the time. Symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have symptoms. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.
Asthma has multiple causes:
- Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Allergens include things like molds, pollens and pet dander.
- Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.
Asthma can also be:
- Adult-onset: This type of asthma starts after the age of 18.
- Pediatric: Also called childhood asthma, this type of asthma often begins before the age of 5, and can occur in infants and toddlers. Children may outgrow asthma. You should make sure that you discuss it with your provider before you decide whether your child needs to have an inhaler available in case they have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.
In addition, there are these types of asthma:
Why Does My Asthma Act Up At Night
Asthma can get worse at night. If you have symptoms at night, it’s called nighttime asthma. This is often a sign of uncontrolled asthma. It probably has to do with natural body rhythms and changes in your body’s hormones. With the right asthma management and treatment, you should be able to sleep through the night.
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How Do I Know If My Asthma Is Not Well
A good way to know if your asthma is not well-controlled is by answering these questions:
- Do you have asthma symptoms more than two times a week?
- Do you take your quick-relief medicine more than two times a week?
- Do you wake up from asthma more than two times a month?
- Do you use oral corticosteroids more than two times a year?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, talk with your doctor.
If your asthma is not well-controlled, your daily activities may be limited. You may miss work or school. You may increase your chances of having complications from a respiratory infection. And you may be at greater risk for going to the emergency room, staying in the hospital, or even dying from asthma.
Asthma Medication Is Important
Asthma can be well-controlled with the appropriate medication in almost all people. To maintain and improve your asthma control both in the short and long term, it is important to continue to take your asthma medications and discuss any symptoms and concerns with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
The main types of medication are:
- preventers â that slowly make the airways less sensitive to triggers by reducing swelling and mucus inside the airways. This medication is taken daily. There are also combination preventer medications containing two different medications.
- relieversâ that act quickly to relieve symptoms by relaxing the tight muscles around the airways. This medication is used during an asthma attack
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Where To Get Help For Childhood Or Adult Asthma
For adults or children, asthma can have a big impact on daily life. Managing symptoms, and avoiding or minimizing asthma attacks, is important to improving ones quality of life. Having the support of a caring healthcare provider can make all the difference.
If you or a loved one need help managing asthma symptoms, or would like assistance from a WWMG healthcare professional to create an asthma action plan, contact Western Washington Medical Group Family Practice to schedule an appointment. For more general inquiries, use the form on this page. We look forward to helping you.
Key Points About Asthma In Adults
Asthma is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
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Asthma Is A Complex Condition
Occasionally, people with asthma experience what are known as silent symptoms. This is where the signs of the tightening of the airways dont result in the familiar asthma sounds of wheezing and coughing. If you or someone you live with, work with, or care for experiences silent symptoms, it is important they consult a doctor for an ongoing Asthma Action Plan. People around the person with asthmasuch as co-workers, school teachers or daycare educators should know about the silent symptoms so they can respond if needed. Asthma can start at any age, and can be more of a problem when it starts in older adults. Dont assume if you never had asthma as a child that its not possible to develop symptoms now. Being breathless is not a normal part of getting older, it should always be checked out by a doctor.
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.
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Can Allergic Asthma Be Prevented
While asthma itself cant be prevented, you can reduce your risk of an allergic asthma attack by knowing your triggers and controlling your environment. This might mean not cutting the grass if you know that pollen is trigger for your asthma or avoiding places with a lot of animals if dander is a trigger for you.
What Is The Diagnosis Of Asthma
- There is no single test or exam that will determine if you or your child has asthma. Instead, your doctor will use different criteria to determine if the symptoms are the result of asthma.
The following can assist diagnose trusted source asthma:
- Health history: If you have family members with a breathing disorder, your risk is very higher. Alert your doctor about this genetic connection.
- Physical exam: Your doctor will listen to your breathing with the stethoscope. You may too be given a skin test to look for signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives or eczema. Allergies increase your risk for asthma.
- Breathing tests: Pulmonary function tests measure the airflow into & out of your lungs. For the most usual test, spirometry, you blow into a device that measures the speed of the air.
- Doctors do not typically perform breathing tests on children under five years of age because it is difficult to get an accurate reading.
- Instead, they may prescribe asthma medications to your child & wait to look if symptoms improve. If they do, your child likely has asthma.
- For adults, your doctor may prescribe a bronchodilator or other asthma medication if test results indicate asthma. If symptoms improve with the use of this medication, your doctor will continue to treat your condition as asthma.
- Your doctor will also require to determine the type of asthma you have. The most usual type is allergic asthma, representing a 60 percent trusted source of all cases of asthma.
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Treatment Of Asthma In Adults
The medications and treatments for adult asthma are:
- Anti-inflammatories inhaled corticosteroids are taken daily to prevent asthma symptoms by reducing airway sensitivity and inflammation. Steroid tablets can be taken for acute flare-ups and more severe asthma.
- Bronchodilators inhaled short-acting and long-acting bronchodilators are taken occasionally to relieve symptoms. They work within a few minutes and shouldnt be needed more than three times a week.
- Leukotriene receptor antagonists daily tablets to improve prevention if needed.
- Theophylline taken daily to prevent symptoms if they are still not well controlled.
- Monoclonal antibody therapy also called biological medicines or biologics, these injections block some of the bodys immune response to triggers.
- Bronchial thermoplasty is a surgical procedure done on the airway itself to reduce its thickness.
What Are Common Allergens That Can Trigger Allergic Asthma
Allergens can be found all around you. These can be in your indoor and outdoor environments. When you have allergic asthma, inhaling these allergens can set off your symptoms. Its important to know what can trigger your asthma so that you can control your condition.
Possible allergens that can trigger allergic asthma can include:
- Dander: This is skin flakes and its usually from pets. Hair is often grouped with dander as a common allergen.
- Pollen: A powdery substances, pollen comes from plants. The most common types of pollen that trigger allergic asthma are grass and weeds.
- Mold: Typically found in places that hold moisture , mold produces spores that get into the air and can trigger your asthma.
- Dust mites: Very small and shaped like spiders, dust mites live in the soft surfaces of your home . They eat skin flakes that you naturally shed all of the time. Both the mites themselves and their feces are allergens.
- Cockroaches: These pests can be found in many homes and other buildings. Your asthma can be triggered by the feces, saliva and other body parts of the cockroaches.
Some people suffer from seasonal allergies. These are allergies that flare up at a certain time of year. This is often connected to spring because of the blooming of many plants. During this time of year, there is more pollen in the air than other seasons .
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How Long Asthma Lasts For
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.
Asthma Doesnt Go Away On Its Own
It can be tempting to ignore these symptoms and hope it goes away on its own, but this isnt something you should ignore, says Dr. Gerber.
Acute asthma attacks can damage the lungs over time, and can even be potentially life threatening
Therefore, its important to do everything you can to control asthma.
This starts with getting an accurate diagnosis, making a treatment plan with your doctor, and then doing your best to structure your daily life to avoid triggers and manage your symptoms.
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