It's easy to think of asthma as something that's only diagnosed in childhood. By the time you're an adult, you may assume that you're safe from this particular breathing disorder. As a result, it can come as a shock to be diagnosed with adult-onset asthma. But it turns out that developing asthma is more common than you may think. Take a look at a few things that you need to know about adult-onset asthma.
How Can You Develop Asthma As An Adult?
Sometimes, what seems like adult-onset asthma really isn't. 75% of cases of asthma are diagnosed by the time a child is seven years old, so childhood asthma definitely is the most common. However, if you had mild or intermittent asthma as a child, you may simply not have been diagnosed. Asthma often improves significantly during puberty, so when it resurfaces later as an adult, you may not realize that you have actually had the condition since childhood.
However, there definitely are a significant amount of cases of asthma that appear for the first time in adulthood, often when the patient is in their 30s. In women, the changes in the body that occur during pregnancy and childbirth are the cause. Other cases develop out of long-standing allergies. And about one-third of cases of adult-onset asthma are either caused or worsened by exposure to various allergens at a workplace.
How Is Adult-Onset Asthma Different From Childhood Asthma?
Adult-onset asthma and childhood asthma share many similarities. Both have the same symptoms, including wheezing, tightness and pressure in the chest, congestion, coughing, and shortness of breath. Both can also be triggered by some of the same things, like smoke, mold, mildew, and dust mites.
However, there are also some differences. Childhood asthma is usually intermittent. Children may be more sensitive to allergens, but less likely to have an attack when the environment is controlled. Adults with asthma, on the other hand, are more likely to suffer from persistent, daily symptoms and may require daily treatments to keep symptoms under control.
Asthma and COPD
Controlling your asthma symptoms is important for any number of reasons, including your own comfort. But one of the most important reasons to make sure that your asthma is treated and controlled is because having asthma as an adult puts you at greater risk of developing COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).
COPD is a term for a collection of respiratory diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Adults with asthma are 12 times more likely to develop COPD, and once you have it, there's no cure. Proper anti-inflammatory treatment for asthma can help lower your risk of eventually developing COPD.
If you suspect that you may have adult-onset asthma, it's important to see your doctor, like those at Aerospan RX, so that you can begin appropriate treatment. The sooner you begin treating the condition, the better off you'll be in the long run.