Can Asthma Develop in Adulthood?

Can Asthma Develop in Adulthood?

Asthma is a chronic lung condition that affects an estimated 6.1 million children in the United States, according to the American Lung Association®.

While most common in childhood, asthma can affect your health in adulthood. In fact, adult-onset asthma is a diagnosable condition that affects many people over 50.

No matter if you’ve been navigating asthma since you were a kid or if you're just now developing symptoms of the disease, the team at Primary Care Walk-In Medical Clinic offers complete care for asthma and other respiratory issues.

An overview of asthma

Asthma is a lung disease that causes inflammation in your airways that make it difficult to breathe. Your body also starts producing excess mucus, which further complicates your breathing.

Common causes of asthma attacks or flare-ups include:

When an asthma attack occurs, you can experience symptoms that range from mild to severe. These symptoms can include wheezing, persistent coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.

What to know about adult-onset asthma

Adult-onset asthma can appear at any time. The main difference between childhood asthma and adult asthma is the frequency of symptoms.

In childhood asthma, you might have experienced intermittent asthma symptoms when you made contact with your triggers, such as respiratory infections or allergens.

In adult-onset asthma, your asthma symptoms are typically more persistent. It’s more likely that you’ll need to take medications daily to keep your condition well-controlled.

Risk factors for adult-onset asthma

There are several factors that can put you at higher risk for developing adult-onset asthma. Obesity is a significant risk factor for asthma in both men and women. This is due to the extra pressure your weight puts on your airways and your lungs and the harder your cardiovascular system has to work to carry the extra weight.

Women are also more likely to develop asthma after the age of 20. Older women can develop asthma during pregnancy or the transition to menopause because of fluctuations in hormones. Both men and women may be more susceptible to asthma after a bad cold or other respiratory illness.

Other risk factors for adult-onset asthma include exposure at home or at work to:

If you experience any changes in your breathing patterns, such as shortness of breath, wheezing, or a dry cough, schedule a diagnostic asthma evaluation with our team at Primary Care Walk-In Clinic without delay.

A prompt diagnosis is important because symptoms of asthma in adulthood can also be similar to other chronic diseases, such as heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, and a hiatal hernia. They can also be the same symptoms as severe lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Managing adult-onset asthma

While there’s no cure for asthma at any age, there are ways you can effectively manage it in the long-term.

Our team can prescribe medications that treat asthma attacks and also prevent them from happening. You may also need allergy testing to pinpoint the triggers of your asthma flare-ups and medications to better manage your allergies.

Routine visits at Primary Care Walk-In Clinic give our physicians the opportunity to monitor your lung health and function over time. Lung testing is painless and involves you breathing into a device (peak flow meter) that measures how much air you can move in and out of your lungs.

If you have concerns about changes in your breathing as an adult or have a history of childhood asthma, schedule a diagnostic evaluation online or by calling the Primary Care Walk-In Clinic nearest to today. You can also visit the clinic as a walk-in.

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