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Causes Adult Onset Asthma

To understand the causes of adult onset asthma, you must recognize the symptoms that are present when an adult has adult onset asthma. Only a small group of adults get adult onset asthma, approximately only 10% to 20% of the adult population.

Adult onset asthma has been harder to diagnose because of the similarity of the symptoms to those of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (COPD). Add in past or present smoking and it becomes even harder to distinguish in some patients.

Other possible diseases might be forms of heart disease associated with fluid retention. These forms can cause difficulty breathing and wheezing that mimic adult onset asthma. Only your doctor will be able to diagnose your symptoms, so it is imperative that you consult with him/her. Be sure to discuss your symptoms and what seems to trigger them. Pulmonary function tests can help distinguish the cause of your asthmatic symptoms.

Factors that influence adult onset asthma:

Genetic Factors

Asthma can be hereditary. People with asthma usually have other allergic conditions such as rhinitis, which is the inflammation of the lining of the nose.

Environmental Factors

Carpeted and air conditioned homes are closed off and do not allow much air flow. This encourages the breeding of dust mites in the bedding, carpet and furnishes.

Dietary Factors

Processed, high salt, lower antioxidant food intake can contribute to the development of asthma. Also eating less omega-3 fatty acids can contribute.

Lack of Exercise

Reduced activity levels can cause the airway muscle walls to abnormally constrict because of the inability to stretch when exposed to irritants.

Occupational Factors

In adults, asthma can develop from prolonged exposure to irritants in the work are, especially if there is inadequate ventilation to filter out the irritants. Some of the known irritants have been identified to be chemicals, gases, dust, molds and pollens in such industries as bakeries, painting, woodworking, chemical production and farming.

Adult onset asthma is different from childhood asthma by usually being more persistent and permanent in nature. Medications, once started, must be continued on a regular basis to keep the asthma under control. One main reason for this is the fact that as you age you begin to lose lung function after middle age. Asthma may be related to a faster rate of deterioration of the lung function. It has been found it is better to treat asthmatic lung function all the time rather than risk permanent lung function loss through deterioration.

For moderate to severe asthma symptoms in adults with adult onset asthma doctors advise the need to get a flu shot annually. Doctors also recommend getting the pneumococcal vaccination every five years to help reduce the risk of contracting influenza-pneumonia.