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What Is Adult Onset Asthma

How To Get A Diagnosis

Adult onset asthma

The first thing to do is book an appointment. Your GP or an asthma nurse can help confirm or rule out a diagnosis of asthma.

They can do this by:

  • talking about your symptoms, what sets them off, and when you get them
  • asking if anyone else in the family has asthma
  • finding out if you, or anyone in your family, have other allergies, like hay fever
  • testing how your lungs are working
  • listening to your chest for any sounds of wheezing
  • prescribing asthma treatments to see if they make a difference
  • considering any other symptoms that might suggest something else.

Asthma tests

Alongside a full clinical assessment by your GP, youll need some asthma tests to confirm or rule out asthma. Your GP can see how your lungs are working with tests like peak flow, spirometry, and FeNo .

Your GP can usually perform these tests during the appointment, and you can see the results straight away. But you may need to do tests again on another day before your GP can confirm you have asthma.

You may be given a peak flow meter to use at home for a couple of weeks. This is so you can record your own peak flow scores in a diary.

When you take it back to your appointment, your GP or asthma nurse will be able to see a pattern of scores that could suggest asthma.

Trying out asthma treatments

Your GP or asthma nurse may prescribe asthma treatments to see if they help. This is sometimes called a trial of treatment.

If your symptoms start to get better, it suggests you could have asthma.

If Your Asthma Symptoms Are Caused By Allergies Take Steps To Control Knownor Potential Triggers In Your Environment

Allergy-proof your house for dust, mold, cockroaches, and other common indoor allergens to which you are allergic.

Reduce your outdoor activities when the pollen count or ozone level is high.

Choose foods that dont contribute to your asthma or allergy symptoms.

Evaluate your workplace for possible allergens and take the necessary steps to reduce your exposure to them.

In order to determine relevant triggers, you may want to seek consultation with an allergist who can further define these triggers.

In addition, anyone with asthma should consider getting an annual flu shot. Older adults also should talk with their internist about getting a pneumonia vaccination.

What Are Your Treatment Options

When you first discover that you have asthma, your doctor will help you create a treatment plan that best fits your needs. Everyones asthma is different, so it is important that you consult your doctor for help putting together an asthma attack action plan.

It is extremely important to identify your asthma triggers. Establishing this will help you see what you need to avoid or take special caution. Common allergy triggers range from air allergens and tobacco smoke to chemicals and mold.

Your doctor will also decide which medications best suit your case. A wide range of quick-relief and long-term control medications are available to help fit your needs. Additionally, the use of at-home spirometry testing helps with asthma management. These tests help you to see how well your lungs are functioning. When you have adult-onset asthma, at-home spirometry makes an excellent management tool since it is easy to use and helps you get to know your body even better.

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What Are The Different Types Of Asthma

Asthma is a broad term describing the inflammatory process that causes asthma symptoms. However, there are different types of asthma and treatment may vary depending on the type of asthma you have. These types of asthma are often referred to as phenotypes. There are two main types of asthma:

  • Non-allergic asthma

Are There Any Special Considerations For Adults Who Develop Asthma

Asthma Prognosis

People with multiple medical conditions need to be aware of how their illnesses and the medications they use may affect one another.

If you take more than one medication, talk with your physician about ways to simplify your medication program. Explore the possibility of combining medications or using alternate ones that will have the same desired effect. Be sure to discuss potential drug interactions with anything you take including vitamins or herbal supplements.

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Complications Of Asthma In Adults

You should work closely with your doctor to keep your asthma symptoms under control. Untreated asthma can lead to a number of complications. Asthma complications can disrupt your day-to-day life or be life-threatening.

Common complications from adult-onset asthma include:

  • Difficulty sleeping due to asthma symptoms, such as coughing or wheezing

  • Fatigue from poor sleeping habits

  • Physical inactivity due to asthma symptoms, such as shortness of breath, or a lack of energy from not sleeping well

  • Side effects from asthma medications such as weight gain, insomnia, high blood pressure, infections, and/or bruising

  • Gastroesophageal disease

  • Asthma attack and respiratory failure

  • Mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression

How To Test For Adult

Adult-onset asthma can usually be diagnosed with a physical exam and one or more breathing tests. Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and when they happen the most. You may also be asked about your workplace, home environment, and lifestyle. For example, your doctor may ask whether you have any pets, whether you live with smokers, or if you work somewhere that exposes you to toxic fumes.

Next, your doctor may perform lung function tests. These are done to measure the amount of air that moves in and out as you breathe. You may also have an allergy test or an X-ray that allows your doctor to check for other illnesses and conditions that may be affecting your breathing.

Some symptoms of asthma are similar to those of other diseases and illnesses that are common in older adults. Hiatal hernia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , and heart disease are some of many diseases with symptoms that are similar to those of asthma. Your doctor may perform other diagnostic tests to confirm or rule out these diseases if you have asthma symptoms.

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How Is Asthma Treated

Asthma can be controlled, but there’s no asthma cure. There are, however, certain goals in asthma treatment. If you are unable to achieve all of these goals, it means your asthma is not under control. You should contact your asthma care provider for help with asthma.

Treatment goals include the following:

  • Live an active, normal life
  • Prevent chronic and troublesome symptoms
  • Attend work or school every day
  • Perform daily activities without difficulty
  • Stop urgent visits to the doctor, emergency room, or hospital
  • Use and adjust medications to control asthma with little or no side effects

Properly using asthma medication, as prescribed by your doctor, is the basis of good asthma control, in addition to avoiding triggers and monitoring daily asthma symptoms. There are two main types of asthma medications:

Asthma medications can be taken by inhaling the medications or by swallowing oral medications . If you are also taking drugs for other conditions, you should work with your providers to check drug interactions and simplify medications when possible.

Aspirin And Paracetamol Intake

HEALTH FOCUS: Understanding adult onset asthma

Among individuals with existing asthma, aspirin can acutely precipitate bronchospasm in the subset of patients with aspirin-intolerant asthma. In contrast, long-term intake of 100 mg aspirin has been shown to reduce the relative risk of a newly reported diagnosis of asthma in healthy females . Thus, in individuals without asthma, aspirin might reduce the risk of developing asthma via cyclo-oxygenase -dependent and COX-independent pathways.

On the contrary, the use of paracetamol represents a putative risk factor for the development of asthma . Glutathione depletion in the airways and increased oxidative stress may be the mechanism underlying the link between paracetamol use and asthma development.

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After Your Asthma Diagnosis

The good news is there are lots of effective medicines available to help manage your symptoms. With the right treatment plan and good support from your GP you could stay symptom free.

Here are some things you can do straight away to get off to a good start:

Use an asthma action plan

An asthma action plan is a simple tool to help you manage your asthma well. You fill it in with your GP or asthma nurse.

It tells you exactly how to manage your asthma every day and what to do if symptoms get worse. Evidence suggests that using one means youre less likely to end up in hospital with an asthma attack.

Once you’ve got your own, personalised, asthma action plan, take it along to all your appointments to make sure its always up to date.

Know how to use your inhaler

Using an asthma inhaler can be tricky to get right even if youve been using one for some time. Make sure you start using yours in the best way from the beginning. Some inhalers are best used with a spacer.

Your GP should show you how to use your inhaler and spacer in the right way, but you can also ask the pharmacist to show you when you pick up your prescription.

We have some inhaler videos too which you can watch at home.

Go to all your asthma check-ups

When youre first diagnosed, you may need to see your GP or asthma nurse a few times to check how well your treatment is working. You can also talk about how youre coping with your asthma.

If you smoke, get support to quit

What’s The Difference Between Adult And Childhood Asthma

There are several similarities with asthma in childhood and in adults. Most of the symptoms of adult-onset asthma is common with normal asthma. In fact, treatment options of adult also remain same. Symptoms might vary in both adult and childhood asthma. However, there are some differences too.

In majority of cases, last thermal dentist developed in childhood based usually coming and going at continuous intervals. Asthma attacks also happen once in a while when you have childhood asthma. But that is not the case of adult-onset asthma. Symptoms of this type of asthma are more likely to be persistent and are evident in everyday life.

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Adults with more developed asthma and the later stages are more likely to have stronger decline in lung heath function. People who are in their middle age might have stiffening of chest, hence can make it difficult to treat those patients. Adults in this condition are also at higher risk of death due to asthma. The reason for this is not known, but symptoms of adult-onset asthma are more dangerous and life-threatening than children diagnosed with asthma.

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Breathing Tests For Diagnosing Adult

The breathing tests for asthma include:

  • Spirometry how much air you can breathe out in a set time.
  • Bronchodilator reversibility this is when two spirometry tests are done before and after a one-off dose of bronchodilator medication to see if the treatment helps. A positive BDR test usually confirms an asthma diagnosis.
  • Peak expiratory flow monitoring measures how fast you can breathe out. You might be asked to monitor your PEF, often referred to simply as peak flow, at home for two to four weeks.
  • Fractional exhaled nitric oxide measures the level of inflammation in your airways.
  • Bronchial challenge investigates how sensitive your airways are to a deliberately administered irritant . This specialist test is only done under medical supervision in hospital.

Most people need just one or two tests to reach a diagnosis. After asthma is confirmed you might have one or more allergy tests to try to identify potential triggers.

Q: What Increases Your Risk For Adult


A: Most childhood asthma disappears in adulthood. But having childhood asthma increases your risk of a relapse in your 30s or 40s. Other factors that increase the risk of adult-onset asthma include:

  • Being overweight or obese: A low level of physical activity, changes in lung physiology and higher levels of inflammation are among several factors at play.
  • Being female: Hormonal fluctuations in pregnancy and menopause can trigger asthma.
  • Allergens: Cats, cigarette smoke, chemicals, mold or dust can trigger asthma.

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Can Stress Or Anxiety Cause My Adult

Although stress is a common asthma trigger, it cannot cause the development of asthma. Stress might cause you to feel short of breath and bring on an asthma attack. If you have asthma, try to avoid stressful situations or practice stress management to avoid asthma complications.

What is Aluna?

Aluna is an innovative, scientifically-accurate, and portable spirometer cleared by the FDA.

This device and management program is designed to help adults and children, 5 years and up, monitor their lung function and take control of their respiratory health.

Aluna automatically tracks your FEV1% over time. You can also monitor your symptoms, medication, exercise, and environmental factors.

With the Aluna app, you can easily

Aluna is seeking to shed light on asthma and other lung diseases by providing accurate and reliable data for healthcare providers and patients.

Be sure to ask your healthcare professional about Aluna and how this device can benefit you.

How Is It Diagnosed

Initial diagnosis is based on your symptoms and how often they occur. Your Gateway Asthma & Allergy Relief doctor may draw blood or perform a skin prick test to determine if allergens are triggering your response. A common test for Asthma utilizes a spirometer. This device measures the total amount of air you pull into your lungs and the amount you can exhale yielding information on how well your lungs are functioning.

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Rhinitis Sinusitis And Respiratory Tract Infections

Rhinitis and sinusitis are frequently associated with asthma, regardless of age of onset. Rhinitis is an independent risk factor for adult-onset asthma and the risk was further enhanced by belonging to the highest IgE tertile or by having a concomitant sinusitis . Chronic sinusitis alone, without clear nasal allergies, is very common in adult-onset asthma but markedly less prevalent in childhood-onset asthma . Atopy seems to explain only minor portion of adult-onset asthma . One source of rhinitis and sinusitis is a respiratory tract infection, and consistently, recurrent infections of upper airways as well as infection of the lower airways were risk factors for adult-onset asthma. The risk was enhanced by current or past allergic rhinitis or atopic dermatitis or by an atopic parent . The results are very similar to childhood asthma, where respiratory infections early in life have been shown to increase risk of asthma in childhood and to act synergistically with allergic sensitization .

How Is The Condition Diagnosed

Health check: Adult onset asthma

To diagnose asthma, your physician will question you about your symptoms, perform a physical exam, and conduct lung function tests. You also may be tested for allergies.

Your internist or family physician may refer you to an allergist or pulmonologist for specialized testing or treatment.

After middle age, most adults experience a decrease in their lung capacity. These changes in lung function may lead some physicians to overlook asthma as a possible diagnosis.

Untreated asthma can contribute to even greater permanent loss of lung function. If you have any asthma symptoms, dont ignore them, and dont try to treat them yourself. Get a definitive diagnosis from your health care provider.

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You Work Around Dust Or Fumes

Your job could also put you at risk for adult-onset asthma. Those who inhale dust or chemical fumes are most susceptible. Pastry chefs, hairstylists, mechanics and farmers are just a few examples. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 17 percent of adult-onset asthma cases can be attributed to work-related exposures. We see a lot of occupational asthma, Hagaman said.

If youre concerned about what youre breathing in at work, talk to your doctor about how to best protect your lungs.

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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How Is Asthma Classified

Asthma is classified into four categories based upon frequency of symptoms and objective measures, such as peak flow measurements and/or spirometry results. These categories are: mild intermittent mild persistent moderate persistent and severe persistent. Your physician will determine the severity and control of your asthma based on how frequently you have symptoms and on lung function tests. It is important to note that a person’s asthma symptoms can change from one category to another.

Childhood Asthma Vs Asthma In Adults

Copd Exacerbation Management Australia

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.

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Am I Experiencing Adult Onset Asthma

  • HealthFocus SA | Blog
  • Am I experiencing adult onset asthma?
  • Up to 25 million Americans have asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While most people develop the condition in childhood, adult-onset asthma is also possible.

    In fact, asthma symptoms can develop at any age and stage of life. Some people who have asthma as children age out of flare-ups as they get older, while others first experience the condition well into adulthood.

    Would you recognize the symptoms of adult-onset asthma if you were to experience them?


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