Can You Develop Asthma Later in Life?

Many people associate asthma with childhood, and it does affect millions of children in the United States. However, it’s also commonly diagnosed in adults who may confuse symptoms like shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or a persistent cough during exercise with other conditions such as heart disease or the effects of aging.

Dr. Benjamin A. Laracuente is a top-rated pulmonologist who leads our team here at Tristate Pulmonary Medical Practice in Monaca, Pennsylvania, providing services to surrounding Beaver County. Greatly appreciated for his medical skills and dedication to patient-focused care, Dr. Laracuente specializes in diagnosing and treating lung disorders like adult-onset asthma.

He’s happy to answer a few questions about adult-onset asthma and how it’s treated.

What causes asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease that causes difficulty breathing due to inflammation, increased mucus production, and obstruction of the small airways that supply your lungs with oxygen. An asthma flare also causes muscles around the airways to tighten and results in chest tightness and discomfort that’s sometimes mistaken for a heart condition. 

Common underlying triggers related to adult-onset asthma include:

Women are more likely than men to develop adult-onset asthma, which may be linked to the hormonal changes noted during pregnancy or menopause.

What are the symptoms of adult-onset asthma?

The symptoms of adult-onset asthma are similar to those that children experience, which include:

Many adults with asthma also experience delayed recovery from respiratory viruses and other illnesses that affect your airways and lungs and trigger worsening asthma symptoms.

How do you treat adult-onset asthma?

Effective treatment for adult-onset asthma starts with a thorough evaluation and accurate diagnosis of your condition. Dr. Laracunete may suggest a variety of painless pulmonary studies, such as spirometry, to measure your lung function.

Depending on your symptoms, he may also recommend studies to rule out other conditions that often accompany asthma and may worsen your symptoms, including:

Once the diagnosis is clear, rather than using a “one-size-fits-all” protocol, Dr. Laracuente develops individualized treatment strategies designed to limit long term damage caused by asthma as well as quick-relief or “rescue” from a sudden asthma flare.

Your treatment plan may include:

Dr. Laracuente also provides instructions on how to respond to a sudden asthma attack and practical guidance on ways to identify and avoid your asthma triggers.

For outstanding pulmonary care, including effective treatment for adult-onset asthma, schedule a visit at Tristate Pulmonary Medical Practice today. We’re here to help!

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