Question: I have always thought of asthma as the kind of illness that is identified in childhood. I’m 34, and I was recently diagnosed with asthma. Is it possible to suddenly start suffering from asthma so late in life?
Asthma is predominantly identified in children, who are more susceptible to the inflammation of the lungs that causes asthma. Almost 90% of cases are identified before the sufferer reaches the age of 16, as a combination of children being easily distressed and monitoring by their parents helps to pinpoint the illness.
It is, however, completely possible for someone to get in to their 30s or 40s and only then is it discovered that they have asthma. While the illness can suddenly manifest itself – usually due to a lifelong exposure to an asthma irritant, such as certain chemicals or allergens – in most cases, late-diagnosis asthma is not due to a sudden development of the condition. Usually, if it takes 20 or 30 years to identify the condition, it is relatively mild and has not presented much of a noticeable problem for the sufferer until then. This is quite usual, and simple things like moving in to a more polluted environment or beginning a new job around chemicals may make a long-hidden asthma condition become known.
The prognosis of adult-diagnosed asthma is very good, providing you are willing to learn how to use your inhalers properly and how best to manage the condition. Read up as much about the illness as possible to inform yourself, as it is always better to be safe than sorry.