Asthma does not show symptoms in some people until later in life. This is known as adult-onset asthma. If we ask what causes adult-onset asthma, there are many possible factors involved. Sometimes people manage to avoid asthma triggers for years. As an adult later in age, this can cause asthma symptoms when exposed to this trigger. For example; They can be moved near a roommate with a pet or work around certain chemical fumes for the first time. Except that; A viral infection can also cause asthma symptoms. For example; They can be an upper respiratory tract infection causing a cough that stays for weeks.

What are the most common symptoms of asthma?

  • Coughing, especially at night, when exercising or laughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Grunt

How is the disease diagnosed?

An allergist; It can diagnose asthma that begins in adulthood by performing tests to help diagnose.

How is asthma treated in adults?

As an adult, discovering that you are dealing with a chronic condition such as asthma can be frustrating. But don’t let this affect you. The secret to successfully managing your asthma is working with an allergist. Together you can identify your triggers and create a plan to avoid them. Your allergist may also prescribe quick relief and long-term control medications.

Allergic Asthma

There is often a link between allergies and asthma. However, not everyone with allergies has asthma, and not everyone with asthma has allergies. In some cases; Allergens such as pollen, dust, and pet hair can trigger asthma symptoms and asthma attacks in some people. This is called allergic asthma.

What are the most common symptoms of allergic asthma?

  • Coughing, especially at night, during exercise, or when laughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Grunt

How is it diagnosed?

Allergic asthma; Viral respiratory infections can be intensified by non-allergic asthma-causing factors such as exercise, airborne irritants, stress, medications, and certain food additives and weather conditions. An allergist can determine whether you have allergic asthma by performing tests to help them diagnose.

How is it treated?

Allergy specialists; He is the only person who can help you manage your asthma and allergies. An allergist; They can work with you to identify allergens that trigger your asthma by listening to your family history and performing skin or blood tests. Your doctor can also help you create a plan for managing your condition. While this plan provides you comfort by reducing your complaints; It also provides protection from triggers such as pollen, pet dander, dust mite, mold from grass, trees and weeds whenever possible. Allergy asthma is also one of the treatments; It is allergy immunotherapy, a preventative treatment that helps your body become less sensitive to certain allergens. This treatment can be carried out in two ways: allergy vaccines and sublingual tablets that dissolve under the tongue. Do not forget to discuss this and other treatment options with your physician.

Asthma and COPD Development

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease that causes breathing problems and blocks air flow. COPD; may include refractory (severe) asthma, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. Not every person with asthma develops COPD, and not all patients with COPD have asthma. However, it is also common for these two diseases to coexist. Asthma-COPD overlap syndrome (ACOS) occurs when a person has these two diseases at the same time.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of ACOS are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Grunt
  • Frequent cough
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Excessive phlegm
  • Feeling tired
  • Low physical tolerance for exercise
  • Shortness of breath during routine activities

Although symptoms are not always severe, ACOS is serious and can be fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014 ACOS was the third leading cause of death in the United States, with chronic lower respiratory tract diseases, notably COPD.

People with asthma may not realize they also have COPD. Sometimes COPD is not diagnosed until it reaches the “intermediate” stage, these patients often experience shortness of breath, cough, and more severe mucus than normal. Unfortunately, due to the proximity of COPD and asthma symptoms, the problem of misdiagnosis can arise frequently.

What are the risk factors?

Asthma triggers are generally; Contains allergens such as pollen, dust mites, cockroaches, molds and animal dander. Allergens can make COPD symptoms worse. And if left untreated, allergies and asthma in some people; It can increase the risk of COPD. However, COPD is not the same as asthma, and COPD is not caused by allergies or asthma. COPD is a community of lung diseases. Sometimes asthma is part of this community and sometimes it is not. However; COPD can result from prolonged exposure to some of the same environmental risk factors (usually in the workplace), which can also cause occupational asthma. Smoking is the biggest risk factor for developing COPD. To smoke; It is a dangerous warning for the entire respiratory system. The most important thing you can do for your health is to quit smoking.

How is it diagnosed?

When a person has ACOS; It is possible to confuse asthma with COPD or not to recognize the presence of both conditions. If you have severe asthma or COPD, you should request more tests to find out if you have ACOS. When these two diseases overlap, both diseases need to be treated.

Severe asthma diagnosis; It means that your asthma symptoms do not respond well to medications typically used to manage asthma, such as inhaled corticosteroids. You may need special care and treatment to try to improve lung function and manage symptoms. It is important to consider other illnesses at this point to see if there are additional factors contributing to the diagnosis of severe asthma.

COPD is most often diagnosed among certain groups:

  • People between the ages of 50-74
  • Current and former smokers
  • People with a history of severe asthma
  • Persons exposed to airborne irritants for a long time, including industrial chemicals and tobacco smoke
  • People with a family history of COPD

COPD has long been the most common; Considered a condition diagnosed in older men, the American Lung Association’s 2013 report found that women were 37 percent more likely to get the disease than men, and COPD patients accounted for more than half of the deaths in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment can change the course of the disease and slow its progression. An allergist can diagnose other conditions, such as COPD and asthma, by asking you about your medical history. Your allergist will also give you a physical exam, which may include a rapid breath test known as spirometry. This will measure how much air your lungs can hold and how fast the air is moving in and out.

Your physician may also recommend a chest CT scan and a chest X-ray. Once you have determined what stage your COPD and asthma are in, from mild to severe, your allergist will review treatment options with you and share lifestyle changes and a treatment plan that will help you feel better and improve your lung function.

How is the treatment?

COPD is progressive, which means it gets worse over time. When the right treatment is taken at the right time, asthma is a condition that improves. This makes early treatment important, especially when ACOS occurs. If you have any symptoms of COPD, you should see an allergist. It is essential to work with your allergy doctor to manage symptoms and get the best possible care for your specific needs. Treatment of ACOS varies from patient to patient. Each patient receives a customized treatment plan. Lifestyle changes such as exercise, breathing techniques, and avoidance of air pollutants at home and at work may also be recommended. The most important part of treatment for smokers is quitting tobacco use. Since respiratory diseases such as flu can cause serious complications in people with ACOS, you should get the flu shot every year. In addition; The pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine is also recommended.

ACOS has no cure, and early diagnosis of this syndrome can improve the overall health of your lungs. Acting with your allergist if more than one disease affects your breathing or if you have ACOS; It will help you maximize your lung function.

Exercise-Induced Bronchoconstriction (EIB)

Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, or EIB, is commonly known as exercise-induced asthma. Symptoms develop when the airways narrow as a result of physical activity. 90 percent of people with asthma also have an EIB, but not everyone with an EIB has asthma. Many athletes have EIBs, including Olympic medal winners in sports such as cross-country skiing, figure skating and ice hockey.

What are the symptoms?

EIB; It is caused by breathing dry air quickly during exercise. It develops due to the loss of heat, water, or both, which occurs in the airways while exercising. Symptoms are generally; It occurs a few minutes after starting exercise and can continue for 10 to 15 minutes after you finish your workout. While these symptoms can develop in anyone (especially an out of shape person), they are more severe in the presence of EIB. Wheezing after physical activity in children is often the first symptom of asthma.

Common symptoms of EIB are:

  • Shortness of breath or wheezing
  • Decreased stamina
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Cough
  • Nausea
  • Throat ache

EIB triggers include airborne irritants associated with certain sports. These:

  • Chlorine while swimming
  • Pollution while running or cycling
  • Cold, dry weather while skating or playing hockey
  • Air temperature during hot yoga
  • When exercising or racing at a gym; perfume, cleaners, paint and new equipment or carpet can also be the trigger.

While it has been thought for years that breathing in cold air worsens the EIB, current studies show that the trigger is the dryness of the air rather than the temperature. Cold weather is generally; It contains less moisture than warm air, and fast breathing dry air dries up the bronchial tubes, causing them to narrow and restrict airflow. The sports and activities most likely to cause EIB symptoms; requires constant activity or is done in cold weather. These; football, basketball, long-distance running, ice hockey, ice skating and cross-country skiing.

Among the activities least likely to cause EIB symptoms; Included are sports that require walking, hiking and recreational cycling or short-term activities. These; It includes volleyball, gymnastics, baseball, wrestling, golf, swimming, soccer, and short distance track and field sports. Some swimming activities may require constant activity; however, the temperature and humidity in the water make it easier for people with EIB to breathe.

How is it diagnosed?

Do you have an EIB? Sometimes it can be difficult for athletes to know. Everyone has trouble completing a workout from time to time, and athletes often don’t consider EIB or asthma as a reason. An allergist; It can determine whether your symptoms are due to exercise alone, whether there is a reaction to airborne allergens or irritants, or whether it is an indication of underlying asthma.

As part of an examination, your allergist will take your history from you. (Including asking about relatives with asthma or other breathing difficulties) You may also be asked for specific details about your physical activity, including where and how often you exercise. Your allergist; He or she will also evaluate other conditions such as upper respiratory tract problems that may play a role in your exercise-related difficulties. In some cases, environmental factors can contribute to the EIB. Skaters and hockey players can be affected by cold, dry air on ice rinks and contaminants from ice surfacing machines. The EIB in long distance runners has been associated with exercising in high allergen and high ozone environments. Also, indoor air with high levels of trichloramine, a chemical used in chlorination in the pool, has been associated with asthma and EIB in swimmers.

How is it treated?

Various medications are available to treat asthma to prevent and treat EIB symptoms. These are generally; They are taken through an inhaler, but some may also be in tablet form. Your doctor will give you the clearest information about your treatment.

Other suggestions for easing EIB symptoms include:

  • Before starting more intense physical activity, warm up with gentle exercise for about 15 minutes.
  • When exercising in cold weather, cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or face mask.
  • While exercising, try to breathe through your nose. This helps to warm the air entering your lungs.
  • Avoid triggers by making changes in your exercise routine.
  • Meet with your allergist frequently during the treatment process.

Non-Allergic Asthma

Do your asthma symptoms flare up in extreme weather, the heat of summer or the cold of winter? Do you usually develop asthma attacks when you get sick? Does stress cause breathing problems? If this is the case, you could probably suffer from non-allergic asthma.

What are the symptoms?

  • Coughing, especially at night, during exercise, or when laughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Grunt

What are the triggering factors?

As the name suggests, non-allergic asthma is triggered by factors other than allergens. These are:

  • Viral respiratory infections
  • Exercise
  • Irritants in the air
  • Stress
  • Medicines and certain food additives
  • Weather conditions

How is the diagnosis made?

You may wonder why you should go to an allergist for non-allergic asthma. Asthma; Even in the same person, it can be triggered by many factors. However, the most common of these triggers is allergy. Therefore, every person with or suspected asthma should be evaluated by an allergist to determine if this common trigger plays a role in breathing problems.

An allergist; He/She can determine whether you have non-allergic asthma by doing tests to help make a diagnosis.

How is it treated?

When you can’t attribute your asthma to a specific allergen like dog hair or house dust, it can be more difficult to identify your triggers. Therefore, go with an allergist; It is important to find the cause of your asthma and to create a plan for managing it. Allergists may prescribe quick relief and long-term control medications. They can also work with you to identify and prevent triggers and make a plan for avoiding asthma attacks.

Occupational Asthma

People with this condition usually; They work around chemical fumes, dusts or other irritants in the air. If you have been diagnosed with asthma with another cause, airborne irritants in the workplace can worsen this situation. If you have asthma and suspect your workplace is causing or worsening your symptoms, your allergist can help you manage your illness.

Is your asthma caused by your job?

It can be difficult to answer this question. You will first need to answer other questions, including:

  • Did your asthma start when you changed jobs?
  • Does your asthma improve when you are away from your job?
  • Are chemicals and other conditions in your workplace making it difficult to breathe?

What causes occupational asthma?

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in a wide variety of industries and professions in the United States; reports that an estimated 11 million workers were exposed to at least one of more than 250 substances known or believed to cause or exacerbate occupational asthma. Occupational factors are associated with up to 15 percent of obstructive asthma cases. Triggers; May include chemicals used in manufacturing, dyes, cleaning products, dusts from wood, grain and flour, latex gloves, certain molds, animals and insects. Among the factors that increase the risk of developing occupational asthma, generally; existing allergies or asthma, family history of allergies or asthma, and smoking.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the following workers have a higher risk of developing occupational asthma:

  • Bakers
  • Detergent manufacturers
  • Pharmaceutical manufacturers
  • Farmers
  • Granary workers
  • Laboratory workers (especially those working with laboratory animals)
  • Metal workers
  • Millers
  • Plastic workers
  • Woodworkers

Determining whether your asthma is work-related will require a thorough physical exam. Your allergist will ask you for the following.

A medical history that reviews whether any member of your family has any other allergic conditions such as allergies, asthma or eczema.

It asks you to explain your current and past affairs and whether they are related to your asthma. You should be able to explain your job and workplace conditions, such as exposure to smoke, gases, incense, irritants, chemicals, and potential allergens.

He or she will ask you how often your attacks occur and what triggered them.

You may be asked to stop by the doctor’s office for testing before and after your shift at work.

In addition; Your allergist may perform skin tests and order chest x-rays and blood tests. If necessary, aerosol loading studies can be considered.

How can occupational asthma be controlled?

Prevention and treatment of occupational asthma; It requires environmental interventions, including drug therapies and education in behavioral changes to avoid asthma triggers along with careful medical monitoring. Your improvement in your treatment; Whether you can avoid the things that trigger or worsen your asthma at work will depend on where you work and what you do there. If you suspect that your asthma is caused by conditions at work or is worsening at work, talk to your doctor who can suggest steps you can take to distance yourself from the triggers or reduce their effects.