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Asthma & Allergy Articles

Adult-onset Asthma

Asthma is a disease caused mainly by inflammation of the air pathways of lungs. When asthma is diagnosed in adults, more likely elder than 20 years, it is known as adult-onset asthma. Half of the patients who are affected by adult-onset asthma is likely seen to be triggered by allergies even. Obesity can also be a risk factor for the onset of adult-onset asthma. The adult-onset asthma is way more severe than childhood asthma.

The causative factors for developing adult-onset asthma are–

  • Allergen acting as an important causative factor for developing adult-onset asthma. Exposure to allergens like cigarette smoke, chemicals, dust, pets, or any such irritants causesadult-onset asthma.
  • The occupational asthma is also a part of adult-onset asthma, as the allergens that trigger asthmatic symptoms for the first time are present at the workplace.
  • Though not enough evidence is found on the fact that hormonal fluctuations can play a major role in adult-onset asthma for women but it is seen that women going through menopause and before and after pregnancy, is likely to develop adult-onset asthma.
  • Various infections, such as persistent flu or cold can also play a role in adult-onset asthma.

The signs and symptoms are same as classic asthma, which includes –

  • Dry cough which increases during night time
  • Dyspnoea
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath after exercises or any physical exertion
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Nasal congestion or having a cold since 10 days

The treatment for adult-onset asthma mainly depends on identifying the symptoms, consulting a doctor, following the advice, planning for the following check- up to be confirmed and getting a hold on to the present situation.

  • Lung (pulmonary) function test
  • Spirometry – This test continues for a duration of 15 minutes in which the patient has to take deep breaths and forcefully exhale into the hose. This hose is connected to the machine called spirometer.
  • Peak flow measurement – Here, the speed in which the affected person can force out air from the lungs is measured in a small device is known as peak flow measurement.
  • Allergy skin test – Doctors prick the skin of the person with purified allergens to observe how the skin reacts to the allergens.
  • Challenge test – This test with an aerosol contains a small amount of the chemical that triggers asthma. This test is done after the lung function test has already been performed on that person.

Treatment for Adult-onset Asthma

  • Inhaled corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory drug – This helps in prevention of swelling in the airways
  • Leukotriene
  • Oral and intravenous corticosteroids that help in maintaining the opening of the airway
  • Inhalers relieve from sudden asthmatic attacks.

The adult-onset asthma can be managed by following some steps like to plan with the doctor and try to maintain a daily check-up and taking the medications as prescribed, having allergy proof house by daily cleaning and pest control, choosing the right food that is not allergic to the affected person, trying to evaluate the workplace and restricting outdoor activities that involve allergens.