As with allergies, if youíre an adult who has never suffered from asthma, you may be assuming that this will never be one of your health concerns.† The fact is asthma can be acquired at any point in oneís life due to a number of causes.† Itís important to recognize the symptoms of this illness and be treated promptly to avoid a more complicated health crisis.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), over 22 million people in the United States are known to have asthma, a chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes, causing swelling and narrowed airways.† Whatís commonly known as adult-onset asthma is often associated with allergies, but also can be caused by other factors including extended exposure to environmental toxins such as mold or cigarette smoke, hormonal changes in women during pregnancy or menopause, and can even be the after-effect of a cold or the flu.
Asthmaís symptoms include frequent coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest.† If youíre suffering from any of these, a visit to your doctor can confirm if you are suffering from the disease, which is classified in categories ranging from mild intermittent to severe persistent.† By using a spirometer, a device into which you forcefully exhale after taking a deep breath, lung functioning is measured. If it is unclear whether or not you have asthma after using the spirometer, additional tests may be performed, including a low-radiation dose chest x-ray to rule out other causes of your symptoms.
Asthma is treated primarily by anti-inflammatories (such as steroids) which reduce irritation and mucus production in the airways, and bronchodialators which open up air passages.† These medications may be prescribed as an inhalant, pills or liquids.† While asthma is not considered curable, with appropriate medical care, it is possible to be relieved of its symptoms after being treated actively for a limited time period.
Itís vital to try to determine the trigger of the onset; if environmental conditions such as a moldy basement is at the source, it needs to be dealt with by professionals for long-term health solutions.