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Asthma : the differences between Childhood and Adult-Onset

Dec 1, 2016Posted by nameless

Overview

Asthma is a chronic lung disorder that causes swelling and inflammation in the lungs. Asthma is common in childhood, but you can develop it at any point in your life. It's not uncommon for people over the age of 50 to be diagnosed with this lung disorder.

Childhood asthma and adult-onset asthma have the same symptoms, and both have similar treatments. However, children with asthma face different challenges.

Many cases of adult-onset asthma are triggered by allergies. Allergens are substances that can cause an immune reaction in people who are sensitive to them.

Children with allergies may not experience asthma from exposure to allergens when they are younger. Yet over time their bodies can change and react differently. This can lead to adult-onset asthma.

Symptoms of childhood and adult-onset asthma

Asthma causes inflammation and narrowing in the airways. Narrowed airways cause chest tightness and difficulty breathing. Symptoms of childhood and adult-onset asthma are the same and include:

  wheezing

  coughing

  congestion

  chest pain

  increased mucus secretion in the airways

  pressure in the chest

  shortness of breath after physical activity

  difficulty sleeping

delayed recovery from a respiratory infection, such as a flu or cold

If you suspect your child's symptoms are the result of asthma, make an appointment with their doctor. Untreated childhood asthma may have lasting impacts.

For example, children with untreated asthma may have increased shortness of breath during exercise, which may discourage them from being physically active.

People with asthma can and should be active, and many athletes with asthma are able to have successful careers.

What do the two types have in common?

Exact causes of asthma can be difficult to pinpoint. Allergies and triggers in the environment can cause asthma symptoms and an asthma flare-up, and genetics can also play a role. But the exact reasons why people develop asthma remain unclear.

Childhood asthma and adult-onset asthma share many of the same triggers. For all people with asthma, exposure to one of the following triggers can cause an asthma attack:

  smoke

  mold and mildew

  air pollution

  feather bedding

  dust mites

  cockroaches

  animal dander or saliva

  respiratory infections or colds

  cold temperatures

  dry air

  emotional stress or excitement

  exercise

What are the differences?

Children

Children diagnosed with asthma have intermittent symptoms. Allergens can set off an asthma attack. Children are typically more sensitive to allergens and more prone to an asthma attack because their bodies are still developing.

Children diagnosed with asthma may find that their asthma symptoms almost completely disappear or are less severe during puberty, but they may recur later in life.

Adults

With adults, symptoms are typically persistent. Daily treatment is often required in order to keep asthma symptoms and flare-ups under control.

Among adults who develop asthma, women are more likely than men to develop it after age 20, and obesity increases your risk of developing it.

Death resulting from an asthma attack is rare and mainly occurs in adults over the age of 65.