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How Common Is Adult-Onset Asthma?

How Common Is Adult-Onset Asthma?

Worldwide, asthma affects around 262 million people, including adults and children. All age groups are represented in that figure, but most people with the condition get their initial diagnosis during childhood or adolescence.

Any asthma diagnosis after age 20 is considered adult-onset asthma, but you can get asthma in your 60s or even later in life, too. Asthma can also reappear in adulthood after a period of remission. 

The Beverly Hills Lung and Sleep Institute in Beverly Hills, California, can help you better understand your adult-onset asthma diagnosis and navigate an evidence-based care plan. Pulmonologists Ashkan Naraghi, MD, and Dan Naim, MD, see many people with asthma symptoms like wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath. Through advanced spirometry and other tests, our team can confirm whether these symptoms are due to adult-onset asthma or other respiratory conditions that affect adults like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

If you didn’t have asthma as a child, don’t assume you’re in the clear. Learning about adult-onset asthma helps you identify the signs, so you can access timely treatment. 

When asthma shows up later in life

Many cases of adult asthma appear during adulthood because of exposure to various chemicals, irritants, and allergens. You can encounter certain chemicals on the job, which eventually impact your airways and can lead to excessive mucus production associated with asthma. 

Roughly 30% of adult asthma cases can be traced back to allergens. Even if you’ve had allergies for your entire life, they can trigger asthma later on. Some common airborne allergens and irritants that trigger asthma in adults include:

Pay attention to your environment. Identifying triggers is an important step in managing your asthma so you can take steps to avoid those triggers to reduce symptoms. 

You’re also more likely to develop adult-onset asthma due to unhealthy lifestyle factors like smoking or secondhand smoke, weight challenges, and significant stress. 

How adult-onset asthma differs from asthma in kids

The symptoms of asthma are the same for adults and kids, and both age groups respond to the same treatments. 

Unfortunately, compared to childhood asthma, adult asthma can cause lung function to decline more rapidly. Additionally, your symptoms are generally more difficult to control. Adults are also more likely to experience asthma-related death than children. 

The good news

Although asthma can be more persistent and harder to control when it appears during adulthood, you can start managing it as soon as you receive your diagnosis at The Beverly Hills Lung and Sleep Institute. Our experts rule out conditions with similar symptoms, like COPD, and can personalize your care according to your needs. 

Through a combination of lifestyle changes, long-term medications, and quick-relief pharmaceuticals, you can minimize your asthma symptoms and avoid asthma attacks. Additionally, our team helps you develop an asthma action plan so you know what to do if an asthma attack strikes. 

Call The Beverly Hills Lung and Sleep Institute for more information on adult-onset asthma. You can also click the convenient online booking button to schedule an appointment instantly.

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