While it’s relatively easy to recognize the signs of asthma in children, doctors warn that it’s not so clear-cut in adults. In fact, many adults develop the illness later in life but have yet to be diagnosed.
To make things worse, asthma can be more dangerous in adults and result in death more often. Studies show that this outcome is particularly true for African Americans. If you’ve been having trouble catching your breath lately, here’s what you need to know about adult-onset asthma.
Typical Signs of Asthma in Adults
The signs of asthma in adults are similar to those in children. Unfortunately, since adults can automatically have lower expiratory output, it’s not always easily detected. Still, it’s helpful to look out for the following:
- Chest tightness or pressure
- Persistent wheezing
- Persistent coughing with or without mucus
- Shortness of breath
- Lingering colds
- Coughing more at night
Regardless of how often you experience these signs, it’s always best to consult with your doctor. The best way to diagnose asthma in adults is by either doing a lung function test or a methacholine challenge test.
Bear in mind that asthma can also mimic illnesses such as heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, stomach disorders, hiatal hernias, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Possible Causes For Developing Asthma Later in Life
All the causes of adult-onset asthma have not yet been determined but in many cases, environmental hazards have been identified as problematic. For example, construction sites or classrooms where teachers use chalk regularly. Allergies to dust, pollen, mold, chemicals, or cigarette smoke can also trigger the development of asthma.
How to Determine If You’re At Risk
Apart from being exposed to chemicals at work, persons who smoke are more at risk for asthma. Those with a history of allergies or family members with asthma are also more likely to develop asthma later in life. Other risk factors to look out for include: