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A 31-year-old member asked:

When is the typical onset of asthma? can a person develop asthma as an adult?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine 42 years experience
The : The simple answer is yes; asthma can develop at any age including adulthood. However, studies have shown that there is substantial complexity to this. Many young adults who are diagnosed with “adult onset” asthma actually turn out to have a history of wheezing during childhood or a history of atopy (allergies such as hayfever or eczema). This suggests that new onset asthma in young adulthood may have its origin in early childhood. Women also seem to be more susceptible than men in developing adult onset asthma. Studies have also shown that in contrast to childhood asthma (which many people grow out of), adult onset asthma tends to persist with at least the same level of severity if not worse as you get older. Diagnosing new onset asthma in older adults is more problematic as there are many other conditions that can mimic asthma and can lead to a misdiagnosis. Some examples of conditions that can do this include bronchiolitis, gastro-esophageal reflux disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (especially in smokers) and left-ventricular heart failure. Therefore, a diagnosis of adult onset asthma should only be made after extensive workup, preferably by a pulmonologist.
Dr. Richard Williams
Pharmacy 19 years experience
Anytime: Though asthma usually begins in children, it can occur in adults as well. To make sure, se your physician who will combine your medical history and a simple breathng test to confirm or rule out asthma.

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Last updated Oct 3, 2016

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