Chances are, you’ve heard of asthma and other pulmonary issues as a child, or have even met someone who has asthma as a kid as well. We usually only see kids with asthma, however. Can adults even have asthma or develop it? Read on to learn more:
Can Adults Even get Asthma?
Asthma is a lifelong condition that is highlighted by airways narrowing, swelling, or producing extra mucus. When the airways are irritated, someone may have an asthma attack, characterized by shortness of breath, coughing, tightness in the chest, and coughing or wheezing attacks. Since it is commonly developed as a child, most people with asthma go into adulthood with the medications, devices, and skills they need to avoid flare-ups and asthma attacks.
Adults, however, can develop asthma. While doctors are still unsure as to how asthma develops in adults, theories include occupational hazards and exposure to asthmagens—substances that may cause asthma. Exposure to allergens can also cause asthma, including dust, pollen, some chemicals, mold and mildew, and cigarette smoke. Other factors may also increase someone’s risk, including weight, family history, and a history of allergies. It is also theorized that after Coronavirus recovery, some patients may have symptoms of asthma as well.
What do Asthma Symptoms Look Like?
In adults, asthma symptoms are relatively similar to children’s symptoms. This includes coughing and wheezing, asthma attacks, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. The main difference between the two, however, is that symptoms in adult-onset asthma persist, as opposed to symptom flare-ups that occur in children. Because symptoms are persistent and not too common in adults, it’s not unusual for adults to push these signs off to the side.
Another reason asthma symptoms may be overlooked in adulthood is because they are so similar to symptoms of other illnesses. Rheumatoid arthritis, stomach disorders, COPD, and even heart failure can have symptoms similar to asthma in adults. This means symptoms can be overlooked as a “result of aging” or something other than asthma itself.
How do I Manage my Symptoms?
Managing asthma symptoms can be difficult, especially as an adult. Some medications may worsen other health conditions, or be less effective in adults than in children. To work around this, speak with your doctor frequently. Doctors may prescribe some medications that need to be taken with a nebulizer or specific exercises you can do to help improve lung capacity, so be sure to follow these instructions!
Another way to help manage asthma symptoms as an adult is to avoid things that can trigger your asthma—cigarette smoke, lots of dust, mold, and other allergens. Remember, you are not alone in your experiences.
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