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Overview

Some people don’t show signs of having asthma until they are adults. This is known as adult-onset asthma.

What causes adult-onset asthma? There are many possible factors.

Sometimes, people just manage to essentially avoid their asthma triggers for years. When they are then exposed to that trigger as an adult, it can bring on asthma symptoms. For example, they may move in with a roommate who has a pet, or they may work around certain chemical fumes for the first time.

Other times, a viral infection can unmask their asthma symptoms. For example, they may have an upper respiratory infection that leads to a cough that sticks around for weeks.

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Symptoms

The most common signs of asthma are:

  • Coughing, especially at night, during exercise or when laughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

Diagnosis

An allergist can determine if you have adult-onset asthma by doing tests that will help in making a diagnosis.

Treatment and Management

It can be frustrating to discover as an adult that you are now facing a chronic condition like asthma. But it doesn’t have to hold you back.

The secret to successfully managing your asthma is to work with an allergist. Together, you can identify your triggers and build a plan to avoid them. Your allergist can also prescribe quick-relief and long-term control medications.

Life’s too short to struggle with asthma. If you find an allergist, who can work with you to make a plan and stick with it, there’s no reason asthma has to change anything about how you live your life.