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Can You Develop Asthma as an Adult?

If you’re an adult and have never experienced asthma before, you’re probably breathing a sigh of relief. Most people develop asthma during childhood, so adults often assume they’re safe – but the truth is that asthma can develop at any age.

Some people with asthma have fewer symptoms and flare-ups as they get older, while others first experience the condition well into adulthood. Adult-onset asthma is typically defined as asthma that begins any time after the age of 20. Would you recognize the symptoms of adult-onset asthma if they happened to you?

During the transition from winter to spring, seasonal allergies and respiratory infections often trigger asthma attacks – perhaps for the very first time. Keep reading to learn more about asthma in adults, including what symptoms to watch for and when to visit urgent care for asthma treatment!

What causes asthma in adults?

About 30% of all adult-onset asthma cases are caused by some type of allergen, such as mold or dust mites. Other causes of asthma in adults include:

  • Irritants within your home or work environment (such as smoke, chemicals, or fragrances)
  •  Hormonal changes (such as pregnancy or menopause)
  •  Certain upper respiratory infections (such as colds or the flu)
  • RSV (a viral infection that attacks the lungs and respiratory tract)
  • GERD, heartburn, or acid reflux

Family history may play a role, even later in life. If you have a parent with asthma, you are 3-6 times more likely to develop asthma than someone who doesn’t.

Age impacts your immune system as well, lowering your ability to fight off infections as you get older – and potentially creating an opportunity for asthma to develop.

What are symptoms of asthma in adults?

While asthma may come and go during childhood, it’s more likely to persist in adults. Common symptoms of asthma in adults include:

  • Shortness of breath
  •  Chest congestion
  •  Chest tightness or pain
  • Coughing
  •  Wheezing
  • Difficulty sleeping

If you have adult-onset asthma, you may also have trouble recovering from colds and other seemingly minor viruses. That’s because the viruses are more likely to move into your chest and linger there, causing your symptoms to flare up.

How do you test for asthma in adults?

To diagnose adult-onset asthma, a healthcare professional will review your symptoms, discuss your medical history, and do a complete physical exam. They may also suggest:

  • Lung function testing (pulmonary)
  • Allergy testing
  •  Chest X-ray
  •  Testing for related conditions, such as flu, RSV, or GERD
  • Other diagnostic tools

Can you go to urgent care for asthma?

Yes! All vybe urgent care centers are staffed with medical professionals who are well-equipped to treat mild-asthma symptoms. Our team can also advise on a treatment plan to help get your asthma under control, including making referrals to specialists.

We offer on-the-spot remedies to help relieve asthma symptoms and get through mild to moderate asthma flare-ups, including prescribing or refilling prescriptions for:

  •  Inhalers
  •  Nebulizer solution
  •  Steroid medications

For mild asthma attacks, we offer nebulizer treatments with no appointment necessary. We also provide relief for those suffering from seasonal allergies and respiratory illnesses.

Breathe easier with vybe

Remember, asthma can strike at any time and any age. If you experience an asthma attack or think you might have asthma, visit your nearest vybe right away for answers. Walk-ins are always welcome, or you can make an appointment that fits your schedule.

We’re also open seven days a week to serve you. So take a breath, and turn to vybe – your go-to urgent care destination.