How Common is Adult-Onset Asthma?

Cough, Cold, Flu, Asthma, Urgent Care, ER

For the past twenty years, asthma has been on the rise in both children and adults around the world. The symptoms of asthma in adults and children are similar -- both include having shortness of breath, tightening in the chest, wheezing, and coughing.

Although most people associate this condition with children, adult-onset asthma is more common than you might think. More than 18 million adults in the U.S. have asthma, a health condition characterized by muscle constriction and inflammation in the airways which causes difficulty in breathing.

Dr. Dennis Kellar, Dr. Madhu Gundavaram, and our team at Northwest Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine are here to help educate you about the symptoms and treatment options for adult-onset asthma. We work hard to treat our clients in the Algonquin, Illinois area, creating personalized solutions that will work for your lifestyle.

Read on to learn how you can identify and seek treatment for adult-onset asthma.

How is Adult-Onset Asthma Different from Childhood Asthma?

Childhood asthma usually begins by age six. Young boys are more likely than girls to develop asthma and persistent wheezing, although the rates become higher for females after age 16. Childhood asthma has a strong association with other allergies as well.

The symptoms of childhood asthma include the following:

Adult-onset asthma is generally not present in childhood, although it can begin as early as age 12. The symptoms of adult asthma might be similar to childhood asthma, but there are additional symptoms that may be easy to misdiagnose:

What are the Risk Factors for Adult-Onset 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:

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.

How to Treat Adult-Onset Asthma

Asthma can be serious or even life-threatening, so it’s important to regularly see a doctor for treatment. Our team of pulmonary specialists may prescribe inhalers or injectable steroid medications to provide you with relief from asthma attacks. Dr. Kellar and Dr. Gundavaram may also choose to prescribe additional maintenance medications that can proactively prevent asthma attacks.

In addition to medication, you can manage your asthma symptoms by following these tips:

If you are seeking relief from adult-onset asthma or feel like you may have this condition, reach out to our team today by calling or using our online scheduling tool to book an appointment.

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