You can develop asthma as an adult or a child. Adults don’t always recognize their asthma signs and symptoms, however. One of the reasons that it’s difficult to identify asthma in adults is because people tend to think of asthma as a childhood disease. Asthma at any age can be dangerous. Make sure you realize that the disease can develop in adulthood, and know how to recognize signs and symptoms of asthma.
What is asthma and what are the symptoms?
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that can change over time. There’s no cure for asthma, but a medical professional can help you manage asthma symptoms. It’s possible for asthma symptoms to come and go throughout your life, but most people diagnosed with asthma will always have asthma, even if they do not have symptoms.
Different triggers can cause an asthma attack: exercise, cold air, respiratory infections, mold, pollen, chemicals, air pollution, tobacco smoke, dust mites, and allergens are just a few asthma triggers.
During an asthma attack (or episode or flare-up) your airways swell and produce extra mucus, which causes the space in the airways to shrink. This makes it difficult for air to move in and out of your lungs.
People respond to asthma in different ways. Common asthma signs and symptoms include
- Pain or tightness in your chest
- Difficulty breathing
Are you at risk?
Asthma triggers can be identified, but the exact cause of the disease is unknown. There are certain factors, however, that increase your risk of having asthma as an adult:
- Having asthma as a child
- Being overweight or obese
- Women are at a higher risk for asthma than men
- Exposure to common asthma triggers such as smoke, pet dander, mold, dust, etc.
Talk to your primary care provider if you experience asthma-like symptoms, especially if you are at a higher risk for asthma. Your doctor may refer you to a pulmonary specialist, a doctor who has completed specialized training in the diagnoses and treatment of diseases of the lungs and respiratory tract. MANA has some of the best pulmonologists in Northwest Arkansas.