My Story. My Life: Adult Asthma

By Meghan Bailey on Oct 25, 2016

Asthma is a disease of increased responsiveness of the airways to various stimuli including allergens and irritants that cause obstructions of the airways.  of muscles around the airway and inflammation result in swelling of the lining and increased secretion of mucous. This causes difficulty in breathing and coughing. The most common causes of an asthma flare-up are infection, exercise, allergens, and air pollution (an irritant).

Many people associate asthma with children, and in many patients, symptoms will disappear or significantly reduce after puberty. After the age of 20, symptoms may begin to reappear whether you were diagnosed as a child or not.

"I was in my late 20s when I started to notice my cold was lingering too long," recalled Clarity Fernandez, "I had a hard time breathing, was very congested, coughing a lot, but none of the over-the-counter cold and flu medicines were helping. When I went to see my doctor, we discussed what symptoms I was having. She examined my ears, nose, throat, and she had me complete a lung function test. This is when I found out that I had adult onset asthma."

Around 30 percent of adult asthma cases are triggered by allergies. Exposure to allergens or irritants such as pet dander, cigarette smoke, chemicals, mold, dust, or other substances commonly found in the person’s environment (e.g. home or workplace) might trigger the first asthma symptoms in an adult. Asthma can be controlled, but there’s no cure for asthma. 

"I can tell when I am about to have a complete flair-up, so I take the necessary steps to make sure my episodes are limited. During the conversation I had with my doctor, we chose the best antihistamines for me, and I was even told to use an air purifier in my bedroom at night. If the medication doesn’t help enough, I can always visit my doctor to see if I should get an inhaler."

"My best advice for someone who has been diagnosed recently, or may be experiencing symptoms, is to work with your doctor, and take steps toward prevention. For example, I will check the weather and pollen count, and take antihistamines to avoid my symptoms flaring up."