Roughly 25 million Americans are living with asthma, characterized by chronic intermittent lung inflammation. Many cases of asthma are diagnosed for the first time in childhood. Because of this, it’s natural to be alarmed when these symptoms appear for the first time as an adult.
And adult-onset asthma is becoming more common. An allergy and immunology specialist is an excellent resource for evaluating your symptoms and helping you get answers. At Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, our experts routinely diagnose and treat adult-onset asthma.
Yes, asthma can develop in adulthood
Asthma is commonly perceived as a condition that begins in childhood. In reality, adults are diagnosed with new-onset asthma, too. It’s more frequent in women than in men, and the specific cause of adult asthma is unknown. You’re more likely to develop asthma in adulthood if you:
- Have allergies
- Are overweight or obese
- Have a respiratory condition
- Are exposed to respiratory irritants
Women going through menopause are also at a higher risk of developing adult-onset asthma. Unlike children who tend to have no symptoms between flare-ups, adults often experience chronic wheezing and breathing issues.
Identifying adult-onset asthma
Adult asthma is frequently difficult to diagnose because its symptoms resemble those of other illnesses, such as chronic pulmonary obstruction disorder.
Here are some symptoms of asthma to watch out for:
- Trouble breathing during exercise
- Chest discomfort
- Dry cough
These symptoms might not necessarily indicate asthma, particularly if they’re brief and resolve on their own. Nonetheless, if you’re unsure, our team can help you get to the bottom of things.
What triggers an asthma attack?
Although triggers can vary from person to person, there are a number of common asthma triggers, including:
- Physical activity
- Respiratory allergens (pollen and dust mites)
- Cigarette smoke
- Environmental pollutants
- Common cold or flu
If you have asthma, you can help control your symptoms by minimizing these triggers.
Diagnosing and managing adult-onset asthma
Our team will confirm a diagnosis of adult-onset asthma based on your physical exam, lung function testing, and medical history. We might recommend testing for allergies.
Managing adult-onset asthma depends on the severity of your symptoms. Regular use of inhaled steroids to minimize inflammation and/or a long-acting inhaler to keep your airways relaxed is a typical preventive treatment for asthma.
You can use a relatively inexpensive gadget called a peak flow meter to test and track your ability to expel air from your lungs. If you have asthma, it’s prudent to monitor your lung function daily for changes.
Without treatment, asthma can negatively impact lung function. Don’t put off having your symptoms evaluated. A good treatment plan can help you get relief from and in control of asthma symptoms.
For more information about asthma and to schedule a visit with the Rheumatology and Allergy Institute of Connecticut, call our Manchester office and a scheduling coordinator will assist you. You can also make an appointment request online.