More than 3,500 people die of asthma each year, nearly half of whom are age 65 or older, according to research findings. Asthma can be kept under control at any age when following these tips provided by Luis Saca, MD, allergist and immunologist at Loma Linda University Health.
Asthma can develop later in life even if you have no history of asthma in your childhood. Exposure to allergens like mold, dust mites, and cigarette smoke might trigger the first symptoms in adults. Prolonged exposure to these allergens may cause adult-onset asthma to persist. The National Institute of Health estimates that allergic asthma affects approximately 60% of all people with asthma in the U.S.
Signs and symptoms of adult-onset asthma include cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, pressure in the chest, and chest colds that linger for 10 or more days.
“Rule of Two”
The Rule of Two is a simple three-question exercise that allows you to assess if asthma symptoms are controlled or poorly controlled. Your asthma may not be well controlled if you answer “yes” to one or more of the below questions. Visit your provider to discuss a better way to manage your asthma.
- Do you have asthma symptoms or use your rescue inhaler more than two times per week?
- Do you wake up at night with symptoms more than two times per month?
- Do you refill your rescue inhaler more than two times per year?
Lifestyle tips to control asthma
- Eat and exercise properly to maintain an average weight. A well-balanced diet consists of fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts, and avoiding processed foods. Being overweight can worsen asthma and make asthma medicines less effective.
- Continue taking asthma controller medicine(s) even when feeling well.
- Nasal allergies, a condition of the upper airway, and asthma, a condition of the lower airway, are considered united airway diseases and should be treated simultaneously to achieve the best control of asthma symptoms.
Saca says there is no cure for asthma, but once diagnosed and a treatment plan is in place, you will be able to manage your condition, and your quality of life will improve.