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    New to Asthma at 66 years old!!??
    saber511 posted:
    Hi. Just joined the forum. I am 66 and have been battling a chronic cough and chest congestion for over a year. Recently it was diagnosed at asthma. If it is, it is a real severe case of asthma because I take special Rx to reduce my stomach acid (GERDS), Advair 2x day, and a rescue inhaler ProAir that I use pretty often with limited results...sometimes none. The whole thing of coughing all day or night is driving me crazy and depresses me. I miss work today due to coughing attacks yesterday and this morning....just wore me out. Has anybody out there experienced such a late in life onset of Asthma? How do you get Asthma after not having a problem for 65 years? Most of all can I be sure it is asthma and nothing else and what is the best way to control it so it doesn't take over your life? Thanks for any help or comments.
    abbymay16 responded:
    You can indeed acquire asthma at any age. Mine wasn't diagnosed until I was 40--adult onset asthma is not really all that atypical.

    As far as your symptoms, particularly the cough, it sounds like you might want to put in a call to your doctor. Typically if you are using your rescue inhaler (proair) more than twice a week its time to call your doctor and be evaluated as that means your asthma is not under good control.

    You didn't mention what dosage of Advair you are taking but you might need an adjustment in your medications to a higher dose, or perhaps even some oral steroids to help get things under better control.

    Be sure to mention the limited /no results with the proair to your doctor. There are other rescue medications you can try and very often the proair is the least effective of the 4 that are available so a switch to a different one might be in order. You need a rescue medication that is effective every time you need it.

    what type of testing did they do to diagnose your asthma? Did they do a spirometry, a full pulmonary function testing? Generally these are done to confirm a diagnosis once the doctor suspects asthma. Do you have allergies, and if so has the allergy component been discussed and being treated.

    The best way to not let your asthma take over control of your life is to work closely with your doctor, get a good set of pulmonary function tests to confirm your diagnosis and then find a combination of medications that works well for YOU. This may take some time but with the right meds you should be able to eliminate the cough and have a normal life WITH asthma. In the beginning it just takes time and often some experimentation with the medications to find the right combo.

    Vive Bene, Spesso L'Amore, Di Risata Molto (live well, love much, laugh often)
    Amelia_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Welcome to the community, Saber!

    As Mattie has said, adult onset asthma is not atypical and I also have recently been diagnosed myself. There are many wonderful and helpful members in this community to give insight and support. I hope that you find more control with your coughing and get some rest. Take care!
    sgbl88 responded:
    Hi, welcome to the community.

    I was formally diagnosed at 34. Adult onset asthma is not uncommon like Mattie and Amelia said.

    How were you diagnosed with asthma? ie what tests were done?

    What kind of doctor is treating your asthma now? You may need to see a pulmonologist or and allergist to really gain control of your asthma. They treat things differently (more agressively, use higher dosages, and have some additional meds) than a primary care physician would.

    What are you taking for GERD? You have been diagnosed with GERD which is good, but a lot of your issues could be from that. Do you feel like your GERD is well controlled?

    My asthma was very mild until years ago. It flared up and I had a horrible chronic cough for several months. The thing that finally got me to stop coughing was to use my rescue inhaler exactly as prescribed (specialist's dosage which was about twice my GP's and more frequent) around the clock. It took a couple of days and waking up to use it is annoying, but it got rid of the cough.

    I pray that you get relief soon. I know how uncomfortable the cough is.

    Take care
    God bless.
    coughy16 responded:
    Hi Saber, I was diagnosed in my 40's, but around the same time I was diagnosed, my aunt, in her 70's was also diagnosed.
    Ditto what everyone said, and a couple of other thoughts. If you were properly diagnosed, & still feel lousy despite the drugs, could be that your flare is severe enough to need oral steroids to help get it under control. You need to be sure to keep in touch with your dr about your lack of improvement. Also, you might want to try taking your inhalers in front of the doctor in order to confirm that you are using the inhalers correctly. Sometimes if technique is off by a little, the meds don't make it all the way to the lungs like they need to in order to help. And really, once you get a handle on things, it won't have to take over your life, but it can be a lengthy process to hit upon just the right combo of meds.
    Aqua14 responded:
    It would be helpful to know how recently you were diagnosed, and by whom.

    If you were diagnosed by your primary care physician, then it would be a very good idea for you to be re-evaluated by a pulmonologist (lung specialist). It's possible that you don't have asthma but something else that is similar to asthma (like COPD, which is emphysema plus chronic bronchitis).

    Hope these few thoughts help. While I have asthma, my mom had and my brother has COPD, so I'm well aware of the differences between the two diseases, and the different treatments required. Take care and good luck. Judy
    boblus responded:
    I'm 62, my middle back hurts like crazy when I'm on my feet & working at some small job then my heart starts beating fast with no chest pain then I start ghapsing for air. the only thing that helps me is to lie down until the pain stopps. does anyone else experence this.
    saber511 replied to abbymay16's response:
    thank you for the response and information. I have since been back to my pulmonologist and I went through a series of breathing tests on latest equipment. He has settled on the belief that my Asthma is caused primarily by gastro reflux disease (GERD) and is treating that with some liquid medicine 4xday and pills. Along with a short course of prednisone. Seems to have worked to halt the constant coughing so far. Sorry not to answer in so long but I am not a regular to the internet.
    saber511 replied to coughy16's response:
    Thanks, coughy16! I'm making some progress on this I believe. Seeing a Pulmologist.
    KTTYHWK replied to saber511's response:
    I wasn't diagnosed until I was 48 y/o. I had constant respiratory problems for several years. I've always had sinus/allergy issues, but these were worse. I was having a constant earache and my PCP sent me to an ENT doc. He diagnosed my cough was from GERD and my earache was TMJ, which I should have known since that's another problem I frequently have. But, my cough didn't improve and I was taking hydrocodone cough syrup regularly to get the cough under control. The ENT sent me to a pulmonologist "just in case we missed something." Pulmonary function tests proved it was asthma.

    It's good to hear your making progress. Has your pulmonologist suggested a nebulizer. Same medicine as your rescue inhaler but it get deeper. It's especially good at night.
    cwille replied to saber511's response:
    hey , hope your feeling better, i was diagnosed with asthma when i was about 40, i am now 43, i also have gerd, the problem i am having is that my pulmonologist and stom doc , don't seem to agree on what the problem is, one says i have asthma , i did all the spirometry tests and pulmanary test, and they came back as asthma, my stom doc did an endoscopy and said it was gerd, ( i also had the real bad cough , ended up in the hospital twice.) So now i have to get both doc's to agree to what is causing the problem, I have found that omeprazole for the stomach works real well. As for the asthma , well we're still working on it. But the prednisone does seem to help with the cough. One thing is certain though , gerd can cause the asthma, at least that's what they tell me. I hope you feel better, just wanted to let you know that there is someone out there with the same problem . good luck and god bless.
    saber511 replied to cwille's response:
    Cwille. Well I hate to mention this but the treatment for my GERD has actually controlled the asthmatic cough after a couple weeks. Here is what the doctor prescribed for me. First he put me on Prednisone (a short course because I am a diabetic and it shoots up your blood sugar to 300). So Predisone for 12 days. Then he changed my omeprozale (Prilosec or other over the counter) to Protonix which is similar but he said "next generation" of acid controllers (little difficulty with the insurance company on that one...but eventually the Doctor talked to them and they came around. Thirdly and weirdly he put me on liquid Carafate 4 x a day. which coats your esophogus and stomach to proctect against acid reflux. this is a lot to take ....but it has worked so far...knock on wood.
    Thanks for the posting and interest. get well soon.
    saber511 replied to KTTYHWK's response:
    Aggressive treatment of GERD has helped control this cough. Protonix instead of over the counter, Calafate liquid four times a day to protect stomach and esophagus lining and a short course of Prednisone (12 days) to calm down everything first. Ultimately it stopped the cough but this is not long term yet. Every so often I feel and GERD come up again and I also feel some slight coughing so I get panicky that it might come back. Let me see how I do in about 6 months. But you might look into this by focusing on controlling GERD. Statistics show that about 10% of these type asthma cases are trigger by GERD
    rasrasa responded:
    If you're sure it's asthma, then that's one thing, but I was told I had asthma when I started to have a cough that lasted sometimes 6 months at a time. This long term constant cough showed up year after year. It turns out it was simply post nasal drip from an allergy. The post nasal drip would get into my lungs and cause the chronic cough. I never had any other allergy symptoms or any feeling like I was having post nasal drip. But sure enough, I started taking antihistamines and the cough went away (because it dried up the post nasal drip). Unless you've been unequivocably diagnosed with asthma, give it a try!
    An_189916 responded:
    Hell-o, Oh yes; I have the same problem and developed Asthma at the age of 65. I, too, suffer from GERD and a few years back was hospitalized for a week in order to look into the problem. It was determined that GERD was the reason for the Asthma onset. I am currently on a low dose of prednisone, a rescure inhaler, ProAir and use a nebulizer once a day of Pulmicort. It took quite a while but I finally have stabilized. It's no fun..and I'm drained of energy all the time. But at least the coughing attacks have lessened. I've been told it's something I have to live with....

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