Many people with asthma have allergic asthma, Ford says, which means allergens in the environment can set off an episode.
As you get older, exposure to allergens (or pollutants) can lead to more severe asthma or a first time attack. “Triggers that may not have bothered you when you were younger may cause asthma symptoms now,” says Jay Portnoy, M.D., of the division of allergy, asthma, and immunology at Children’s Mercy Kansas City in Missouri. Older adults also appear to be much more likely to be hospitalized or die from asthma than younger adults.
What to do: Tell your primary care doctor if you notice possible asthma signs, such as a lingering cough, a wheezing sound when you breathe, and periods of shortness of breath. “Any time you’re short of breath, persistently or intermittently, you should see a doctor,” says Norman Edelman, M.D., senior science advisor for the American Lung Association. Pinpointing asthma can be challenging. “Older adults may have other causes of wheezing and cough, such as COPD, heart disease, gastrointestinal reflux, or sinus disease, “Ford says.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health April 2018 Linda Ford, M.D., founder and medical director of The Asthma & Allergy Center in Bellevue, Neb.
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