Understanding Your Adult-Onset Asthma
If you have been recently diagnosed with asthma and you are over the age of twenty, you have what is referred to as adult-onset asthma. Most of the time, this condition arises in adults who have allergies. Sometimes, the development of asthma in an adult is a result of exposure to certain substances in the work or home environment. The following information will help you understand your adult-onset asthma.
First, it is useful to understand just what asthma is. This is a condition affecting the lungs, and it causes symptoms that come-and-go. The linings of your airways will swell from time-to-time, you will produce more mucus that is thicker than usual, and you will have muscle spasms that cause your airways to narrow.
You will know you are experiencing asthma symptoms because you will feel short of breath and you may start coughing. At times, you will also hear a wheezing or whistling noise when you breathe. As your chest tightens, you will find it more and more difficult to breathe.
There are some people who are more prone to developing adult-onset asthma. These include women who are undergoing hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause. A female who uses estrogen replacement therapy for more than ten years after menopause is more likely to develop asthma. Those who have allergies become asthmatic as adults more frequently. A person who is exposed to various environmental irritants can develop asthma as a result. Some of these triggers include cigarette smoke, dust, mold, and perfume.
Adult-onset asthma differs from childhood asthma in that adults naturally have reduced lung capacity compared to children. Therefore, your doctor can overlook the fact that you have developed asthma because your exam may just look like you are experiencing normal muscle changes and chest wall stiffening.
Your doctor can determine whether your symptoms indicate asthma by performing a number of different tests. He needs to take a medical history, discuss your symptoms and monitor your breathing. He can test your lung function and take a chest x-ray.
Once it is determined that you have indeed developed asthma, proper treatment can begin. You will not be able to cure your condition, but there are lots of tools to help you manage it effectively. The aim is to get your asthma under good control and keep it that way. This is accomplished by avoiding your asthma triggers and using prescribed medication properly.
Your doctor may give you a peak flow meter so that you can monitor how well you are managing your asthma at home. This device enables you to measure how well your lungs are functioning then, you and your doctor can use this information to adjust our medications to achieve good control.
When you are given a diagnosis of adult-onset asthma, your life and your focus are changed. You and your doctor can work together to create an asthma action plan that helps you know what to do and when. This way, you can keep your asthma under good control and get on with living your life.