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    Better sleep and breathing blog

    Here's How an Asthma Diagnosis is Different as an Adult

     

    Once you're diagnosed with adult asthma, having an asthma treatment plan for your breathing problems should help bring relief for your symptoms. But sometimes it can be a long and difficult journey getting to that asthma diagnosis. Learn more about adult asthma and how it's different from asthma in children:

    Symptoms of adult asthma

     

    Some signs that doctors look for when diagnosing adults with asthma include:

     

    • Coughing
    • Trouble breathing
    • Tightness in your chest
    • Wheezing
    • Experiencing hay fever
    • Symptoms that are triggered or get worse at night
    • Symptoms worsened by exercise or frigid air

    Causes of adult asthma

     

    Some questions your doctor may cover when diagnosing adult asthma could be:

     

    • What are your symptoms? How long have they been going on? This can help determine whether you have intermittent, mild, moderate or severe asthma.
    • Have you been exposed to secondhand smoke? Chemicals or airborne pollutants in your environment or job? Dust or allergens?
    • Do you experience allergies?

    Differences between adult asthma and pediatric asthma


    You could be diagnosed with adult asthma any time after you are 16 years old. One of the main ways this condition is diagnosed as an adult is that you've experienced wheezing within the past year. Here are some differences: 
     

    • Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and may perform a lung function test (spirometry or peak airflow test) to measure your breathing. Children under 5 aren't given a breathing test. Their diagnosis will be based on their symptoms. Older children may go through a lung function test. If a child's problems improve with a bronchodilator, that's an indicator that a child has asthma. 
    • Adult asthma is likely due to years of second-hand smoke exposure, personal smoking, recurrent respiratory infections, and environmental or occupational exposure. Having allergies or eczema raises your chances of having asthma. 
    • Adult asthma is more likely to occur in women while childhood asthma tends to be prevalent in pre-adolescent boys. 
    • Childhood asthma has been found to affect more low-income children with African American and Hispanic backgrounds.

      Asthma can be challenging to diagnose in adults. Let your doctor know if you occasionally experience heartburn, sinusitis or suffer from seasonal allergies. These conditions can worsen asthma and may cause your doctor to change your treatment plan. Your doctor may prescribe a bronchodilator and asthma medicines to see if those help your symptoms.

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    Disclaimer

     

    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor and is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. Philips disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.