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Why Do Adults Get Asthma

Possible Risk Factors That Need More Research

How does asthma work? – Christopher E. Gaw

Experts aren’t yet sure:

  • About the effect that pets in the home have on getting asthma. A review of several studies found that having a pet cat appeared to protect against asthma, while pet dogs slightly increased the risk of asthma. The effect of other furry pets on the risk of asthma was not clear.footnote 8 If your child already has asthma and allergies to pets, having a pet in the home may make his or her asthma worse.

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:

Remember, for most people with asthma, triggers are only a problem when asthma is not well-controlled with preventer medicine.

How To Reduce Your Risk Of Complications

In general, working with your doctor can help you find the appropriate treatment to control your asthma symptoms and reduce your risk for these complications. And once you find a treatment that works for you, its important to stick with it.

Most people with asthma know the importance of staying on prescribed treatment, Rosenstreich says. Because if they dont, they know theyll see an increase in their symptoms. But your doctor will remind you that symptoms are only the start. These complications are, in most cases, rare and totally avoidable simply by staying with your treatment.

If you have trouble controlling your symptoms despite following your treatment plan, you may have a more severe form of asthma. Let your doctor know about your struggles so he or she can help find a more appropriate treatment.

With additional reporting by Markham Heid.

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Are There Any Special Considerations For Adults With Asthma

Many adults take several medications and/or use over-the counter medications, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, regularly. Work with your doctor to simplify your medication program as much as possible. 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. Some asthma medications increase heart rate. If you have a heart condition, discuss those side affects with your health care provider. Older “first generation” antihistamines can cause men with enlarged prostates to retain urine. Oral steroids can make symptoms of glaucoma, cataracts and osteoporosis worse. Adults with arthritis may need special inhalers that are easier to operate. Anyone with asthma should consider getting an annual flu shot. Older adults also should talk with their doctor about getting a pneumonia vaccination. People with multiple medical conditions need to be aware of how their illnesses may affect one another.

This article was published by AAFA, copyright 1995. It can be accessed online at the following link.

Asthma Attacks And What Makes Them Worse

Why does adult

Your airways narrow when they overreact to certain substances. These are known as asthma triggers. What triggers asthma symptoms varies from person to person.

When asthma symptoms suddenly occur, it is called an asthma attack . Asthma attacks can occur rarely or frequently. They may be mild to severe.

Although some asthma attacks occur very suddenly, many become worse gradually over a period of several days. In general, you can take care of symptoms at home by following your asthma action plan. A severe attack may need emergency treatment and in rare cases can be fatal.

Asthma is classified as intermittent, mild persistent, moderate persistent, and severe persistent.

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Why Do People Get Asthma

Research has yet to show a definitive cause of asthma. However, researchers have determined several risk factors that can lead to asthma development.

Family History and Genetics

Children of mothers with asthma are three times more likely to suffer from asthma, and 2.5 times more likely if the father has asthma. More than 30 genes have been linked to asthma so far, and gene-gene interactions, gene-environment interactions and epigenetic modifications also play a part. Genetic differences also play a role in differences in response to treatment.

Allergies

People are more likely to have asthma if they have certain types of allergies, such ones which can affect the eyes and nose. However, not everyone who has allergies will get asthma and not everyone who has asthma is affected by allergies. Respiratory allergies and some types of asthma are related to an antibody called immunoglobulin E , which the immune system produces in response to allergens. To protect the body, the IgE causes allergic reactions that can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs and skin.

Premature Birth

Children born before 37 weeks are at increased risk of developing asthma later in life.

Lung Infections

Babies or small children may be at risk of developing asthma later in life if they had certain lung infections at a very early age.

Occupational Exposures

Hormones

Women can develop adult-onset asthma during or after menopause.

Environment Air Quality

Obesity

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

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How Many People Get Sick From Asthma

  • In 2016, asthma accounted for for 9.8 million doctors office visits4
  • In 2018, asthma accounted for 178,530 discharges from hospital inpatient care and 1.6 million emergency department visits.5,6
  • Black Americans are five times more likely than white Americans to visit the emergency department due to asthma.6

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

Why Do People Get Asthma and Allergies?

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.

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The Right Medicine For You

Medicine treatment for asthma depends on your age and type of asthma, and how well the treatment is controlling your asthma symptoms.

  • The least amount of medicine that controls the asthma symptoms is used.
  • The amount of medicine and number of medicines are increased in steps. So if asthma isn’t controlled at a low dose of one controller medicine, the dose may be increased. Or another medicine may be added.
  • If the asthma has been under control for several months at a certain dose of medicine, the dose may be reduced. This can help find the least amount of medicine that will control the asthma.
  • Quick-relief medicine is used to treat asthma attacks. But if you need to use quick-relief medicine a lot, the amount and number of controller medicines may be changed.

Your doctor will work with you to help find the number and dose of medicines that work best.

Which Racial Or Ethnic Groups Have Higher Asthma Rates

  • See AAFAs groundbreaking research report on Asthma Disparities in America.
  • Racial and ethnic differences in asthma frequency, illness and death are highly connected with poverty, city air quality, indoor allergens, not enough patient education and poor health care.
  • The rate of asthma and the prevalence of asthma episodes is highest among Black Americans.1
  • Black children are three times as likely to have asthma compared to white children.1
  • Compared to white Americans, Black Americans are five times more likely to visit the emergency department due to asthma.6
  • Black Americans are nearly three times more likely to die from asthma than white Americans7
  • When sex is factored in, Black females have the highest rate of fatality due to asthma. In 2019, Black women were three times more likely to die from asthma than white men.7

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Follow Your Asthma Action Plan

  • Your asthma action plan describes which controller medicines to take every day to help delay the long-term effects of asthma. The action plan also contains the steps to treat asthma attacks. See an example of an asthma action plan .
  • Use an asthma diary to help manage your asthma. Record your peak expiratory flow or your symptoms, or both. Also list the cause of your symptoms and what medicines you took for quick relief.

What Are The Risk Factors For Adult

3 truths about asthma

The risk factors for adult-onset asthma are significantly different from those for childhood asthma. Risk factors for childhood asthma generally are tobacco smoke, air pollution, family history of allergies, bacterial composition, and viral respiratory infections. A predisposition based on family genetics is perhaps the greatest risk factor for children.

Some of the most common risk factors for adult-onset asthma are:

  • Older age
  • Female
  • Respiratory problems
  • Irritants and pollutants in daily environment

As is true for children, adult-onset asthma symptoms may be triggered by environmental factors. If there is mold in your home or poor air quality where you live, it could worsen or trigger the asthma.

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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 Do I Do If I Have An Asthma Attack

If you or a loved one is having an asthma attack and the symptoms donât get better quickly after following the asthma action plan, follow the “red zone” or emergency instructions and contact your doctor or right away. You need urgent medical attention.

1. Give asthma first aid.

If the person doesn’t have an asthma plan:

  • Sit them upright comfortably and loosen tight clothing.
  • If the person has asthma medication, such as an inhaler, help them take it.
  • If the person doesnât have an inhaler, use one from a first aid kit. Do not borrow someone elseâs. The medicine in it may be different than the needed rescue medicine. Also, using someone else’s inhaler has a slight risk of passing on an infection.

2. Use an inhaler with a spacer, if possible.

  • Remove the cap and shake the inhaler well.
  • Insert the inhaler into the spacer.
  • Have the person breathe out completely and put their mouth tightly around the spacer mouthpiece.
  • Press the inhaler once to deliver a puff.
  • Have the person breathe in slowly through their mouth and hold their breath for 10 seconds.
  • Give a total of four puffs, waiting about a minute between each puff.

3. Use an inhaler without a spacer, if necessary.

4. Continue using the inhaler if breathing is still a problem.

5. Monitor the person until help arrives.

  • Do not mistake drowsiness as a sign of improvement it could mean asthma is getting worse.
  • Do not assume that the personâs asthma is improving if you no longer hear wheezing.

6. Follow up.

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How Many People Die From Asthma

  • On average, ten Americans die from asthma each day. In 2019, 3,524 people died from asthma. Many of these deaths are avoidable with proper treatment and care.7
  • Adults are five times more likely to die from asthma than children.7
  • Women are more likely to die from asthma than men, and boys are more likely than girls.7
  • Black Americans are nearly three times more likely to die from asthma than white Americans.7

Drugs And Food Additives

Why Certain People Get Asthma

Beta blockers, which often are prescribed for high blood pressure, glaucoma, migraine headaches and angina, can cause bronchospasm, an airway tightening. Patients with asthma should consult their allergist about the use of these medications.

Food additives rarely trigger asthma. The most common food trigger for asthma is sulfite, a preservative used in such products as frozen potatoes and some beers and wines.

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Its Difficult To Say For Sure Why People Get Asthma But Thanks To Research Were Clear About Some Of The Risk Factors That Make Asthma More Likely

What causes asthma is different to what triggers asthma:

  • The causes are the underlying reasons why someone gets asthma in the first place.
  • Triggers are things like dust mites or pollen that can make asthma symptoms worse.

Here we look at what causes asthma, and where its possible for you to lower the risk. The good news is that some of these risk factors are things you can do something about.

How To Get A Diagnosis

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.

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What To Make Of This

This is just one guess attempting to explain why. It attempts to explain why 30-40% of people worldwide develop allergies.3 It attempts to explain why 4.5% of poeple worldwide developed asthma. Its just one guess. But, its guesses like this that give researchers something to work towards. This is part of the ongoing effort to learn more about our disease.

Why Is Asthma Worse In Black Patients

Tell Your Asthma Whoâs Boss
Date:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
African Americans may be less responsive to asthma treatment and more likely to die from the condition, in part, because they have a unique type of airway inflammation, according to a study. The study is one of the largest and most diverse trials conducted in the U.S. on race and asthma, with 26 percent of the patients self-identifying as African American. Researchers found that black patients were more likely to exhibit eosinophilic airway inflammation than whites, despite taking comparable doses of asthma medication, such as inhaled corticosteroids.

African Americans may be less responsive to asthma treatment and more likely to die from the condition, in part, because they have a unique type of airway inflammation, according to a study led by researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.

Airway inflammation is a key component of asthma, and innovations in treatment are becoming more personalized based on the specific type of airway inflammation in a patient, says Dr. Sharmilee Nyenhuis, assistant professor of medicine at UIC and corresponding author on the study.

“Emerging evidence suggests that differences in airway inflammation can affect a patient’s response to treatment, but whether the patterns of airway inflammation vary across race has, until now, been very unclear,” said Nyenhuis, of UIC’s division of pulmonary, critical care, sleep and allergy.

Story Source:

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