Skip to content
Asthma
avatar
more2c posted:
Hi, I'm new on the asthma board. I am 54 years old and was wondering if it is possible to get asthma this late in life. I've alway had allergies and gget bronchitis or sinusitis once or twice a year. But I have recently been wheezing. A few months ago I went to the clinic because I had a gterrible cough, was wheezing (new symptoms for me) and chest was tight. they took xrays and ruled out pneumonia but said my oxygen level was bad (I didn't even think to ask what it was) and gave me a breathing treatment and steroid shot. Yesterday I started wheezing again, though not as severe. Anyway, I always thought asthma was something that started out in childhood. thanks for any imput.
Reply
 
avatar
coughy16 responded:
I was diagnosed with asthma in my 40s. I actually think I probably had a very mild version since a young age, but it only became bothersome later in life. It is pretty common actually to get asthma later in life. My aunt was diagnosed about the same time as me & she was in her 70's
 
avatar
_Keith responded:
more2c,

I had the same reaction you did when I was told that I have asthma - "what?" I don't know exactly what your doctors have told you, but mine have named my condition several different things - "Adult Onset Asthma", "Illness Induced Asthma", "Exercise Induced Asthma", "Reactive Airway Disease"... whatever it's called, I've still had to adjust to it. I've been active all my life, and this condition is trying to slow me down. I'm beginning to learn how to work with/around it though.

For instance - I currently have two things in my arsenal to combat the breathing issues - Albuterol, which is a "rescue inhaler" and Flovent, for maintenance at night. I take a puff of Albuterol when my condition seems severe or when I'm about to go into a situation that I know will trigger it - exercise or cold air. The Flovent helps me sleep at night by making it easier to breath and minimizing the wheezing. I've used this approach quite a bit in the past few days and I'm feeling confident that I'm getting a handle on this - finally. Note - another trick I've learned to help my situation is to sleep on a chase lounge - on my back, but more upright than I would on a bed. The incline prevents a lot of the wheezing that I get from laying flat and prevents my need to cough sometimes. I don't always sleep like that, but I've grown used to it and it does help me.

Having talked to the doctors and quite a few people who have had the same condition (here and in my group of friends), I've learned that it's not uncommon and that it sometimes goes away. My doctors seem to think that mine will eventually go away. In the meantime, it can be a little frustrating trying to figure it all out, but you're not alone.

Whatever your doctor doesn't answer, or whatever new question you might have - you should feel confident that the answer will be here somewhere. I've learned a lot from this site and the amazing people who are willing to share.

In the meantime, I pray for your good health.
 
avatar
bresky responded:
Hi More2C

It is actually quite common to be diagnosed with asthma later on life. I was diagnosed at 19 with it, it stayed realitvely mild until I turned 25 then it became severe, unknown as to why. I remember when I first was diagnosed it was because a friend who was asthmatic noted the symptoms and gave me his inhaler to try, it made a huge difference.
They wondered if mine was diagnosed later in life because of what I was exposed to as a child. We lived in many unsafe houses growing up, my dad worked at the elevator and we went there when we were sick or after school as my parents couldn't afford a babysitter. I also lived with my grandparents for a year and a half when i was 16 who both smoked 2 packs a day in the house. Supposidly it is quite common to have it in adult hold and I am told that it may change in severity but will never go away. Are you on any maintenance medication?
Bre
 
avatar
amcate responded:
A person can get asthma at any time in their life. As already stated, once you have asthma, normally the disease itself is considered to be chronic and doesn't go away. However, the symptoms of the disease may come and go.

I have had times when, as long as I'm on the controllers, I've gone 18 months with only occassional rescue medicine use. It's typical for me to be on high level controllers, but go 9 months with only occasional rescue medicine use. However, when it hits, it hits hard. Last summer I had to take 900 mg of prednisone within a few months....off and on again and off again and on again. I had to stay home from work some as my energy was so low due to breathing problems I had difficutly even doing the laundry. If I don't wear a mask, I have to take about 1200-1500 mg of prednisone a year, with a typical burst being 280 mg. With the mask, it's about 600-900mg. My point is that the symptom severity can really vary over time-either I'm doing great or I'm doing really bad without much in between for me.

It is possible to be misdiagnosed, and in fact I saw a story of a lady in her 40s on the National Jewish website who was diagnosed with asthma, but then they found out it was cystic fibrosis instead. Evidently, she did not have asthma.

The things that support asthma diagnosis are: sores on the skin (eczema often, but not always, accompanies asthma), allergies with testing, sinusitis, decreased spirometry, spirometry before and after rescue medicines with significant increases in lung function after the rescue medicine, good response to the asthma medicines, and the challenge test. That's were they expose you to something that is known to cause an attack in asthmatics but not in those without asthma. Of course, they give you rescue medicine if you do have an attack. My allergist just started using a test call ENO, or expelled nitrogen oxide (I think) which they said offers a more direct measure of inflammation in the lungs.

Allergist and family practice are the ones who diagnosed me. It's been recently recommended I consult a pulmonologist to be sure I don't have something in addition to asthma. So, you may want to have at least one visit with each just to be sure of the diagnosis.

Hope this helps.


Helpful Tips

Xopenex savings
If you use xopenex you know it is expensive. My co-pay with insurance is $100. Today I found out about their Breath for Less Program. ... More
Was this Helpful?
21 of 35 found this helpful

Related News

There was an error with this newsfeed

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For more information, visit the Duke Health Asthma and Allergies Center