If you are over the age of twenty and you have been diagnosed with asthma, you have what is known as adult-onset asthma. This condition arises most often from allergies. At times the development of asthma in an adult is a result of exposure to certain substances in the environment. What follows may help you understand your adult-onset asthma.
It is useful, first of all, to understand what asthma is. It is a condition affecting the lungs with symptoms that come-and-go. From time to time the linings of your airways will swell, there will be more mucus that is thicker than normal, and you may have muscle spasms causing your airways to narrow.
When you feel short of breath and you start coughing, you may find yourself aware that you are experiencing asthma symptoms. In addition you may hear a wheezing or whistling noise when you breathe. When you chest tightens you'll find it is more difficult to breathe.
Some people are more prone to develop adult onset asthma. Included among them are women undergoing hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause. Using estrogen therapy for more than ten years after menopause would make a person more likely to develop asthma. Allergy sufferers are more likely to become asthmatic as adults. Exposure to environmental irritants can also produce asthma symptoms. Triggers include cigarette smoke, dust, mold, and perfume.
Adult asthma is different from childhood asthma in that adults naturally have reduced lung capacity compared to children. This may be among the reasons it may be overlooked that you have developed asthma because your exam may indicate you are experiencing normal muscle changes and chest wall stiffening.
There are a number of tests that your doctor performs that will reveal if your symptoms indicate asthma. It includes medical history and a discussion of symptoms and the monitoring of your breathing. Also he may wish to test your lung function and take a chest x-ray.
When it is determined that you have developed asthma, treatment may begin. It is unlikely that you will be able to cure your condition, but there are many ways to manage it effectively. The goal is to get your asthma under control - and keep it that way. To accomplish this you will learn to avoid asthma triggers and using medications as prescribed.
You may be given a peak flow meter, enabling you to monitor how well you are managing your asthma. It is a device that makes it possible to measure how well your lungs are functioning. You and your doctor can use the information to achieve long-term control.
The diagnosis of adult-onset asthma will change your life and change your focus. Working with your doctor on an asthma action plan will help you to know what to do and when. With the action plan you will keep your asthma under control and you can get on with living your life.