Do You Know The ‘Hidden’ Signs Of Asthma?

African American woman in bed

While most people know that wheezing is a sign of asthma, far fewer realize that trouble sleeping or a persistent cough may also be symptoms of the airway disease, a new survey shows.

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Those findings may help explain why many adults don’t realize they have the disease and don’t seek treatment, the researchers said. But, one in every 200 U.S. adults is diagnosed every year with asthma, a condition called adult-onset asthma, the researchers said.

Adults tend to have a lower forced expiratory volume (the volume of air you are able to take in and forcibly exhale in one second) after middle age because of changes in muscles and stiffening of chest walls. This decreased lung function may cause doctors to miss the diagnosis of adult-onset asthma.

“A lot of people have asthma and don’t know it. Many adults do not have the traditional asthma symptoms, or they don’t have all of the symptoms,” said Dr. David Beuther. He is a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health in Denver, a hospital that specializes in respiratory diseases.

The hospital commissioned the national survey. It included more than 1,000 people who were aged 18 and older. They were asked about the symptoms of asthma.

Many knew the common signs of asthma, such as shortness of breath (89 percent) and wheezing (85 percent), the survey found.

But, when it came to more unusual symptoms, fewer people knew there was a connection between…