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Asthma: Symptoms and Triggers

Asthma is a condition where airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. These conditions can make breathing hard, increase coughing, and even wheezing. Most people with asthma will get their first symptoms at a young age, but it is very common to develop asthma later in life as well. Asthma can be triggered by a wide variety of factors such as respiratory infections, exercise, allergies, and air pollution. Older adults who develop asthma can have much more serious cases with lingering symptoms, making it crucial to understand this condition and treatment plans.


Asthma symptoms can vary from person to person, and different people may have varying triggers that worsen the symptoms. Typical symptoms of asthma include shortness of breath, chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing or wheezing attacks. For people that already have asthma signs of your asthma worsening include more frequent symptoms, increased difficulty breathing, and having to use an inhaler more frequently. It is important to note that there are some common scenarios that may trigger more severe symptoms of asthma. These conditions include exercise-induced asthma which can be due to colder and drier air, occupational asthma due to irritants in the workplace such as chemicals or dust, and allergy-induced asthma due to pollen, spores, or pet dander. It is important to monitor your symptoms, conditions, and triggers to help understand your asthma more.


While asthma is not curable there are many ways to help manage asthma symptoms. There is a variety of medications that can be used to treat asthma both short-term and long-term. It is important to know and recognize your personal triggers for asthma as well. Knowing your triggers can help you avoid situations that may worsen your asthma symptoms. Examples of these triggers include allergies, knowing that certain allergens are high may help you know to avoid being outside to decrease your symptoms temporarily. Additionally, it is important to note that older adults with asthma are often encouraged to get vaccinations for influenza and pneumonia to help protect them against infections and preserve their health.


It is important to speak with a doctor if you have had asthma in the past that is resurfacing, or if you think you may be developing asthma now. Speaking with a professional can help you understand your condition and triggers. Doctors will be able to help educate you on your condition and help create a course of action with you to determine the best steps to take.

More than 2 million Americans over the age of 65 have asthma making it important to understand asthma. If you have had asthma in the past or are developing asthma now it is important to take note of triggers for your symptoms. Understanding these triggers can help you avoid them and mitigate your symptoms. Additionally, it is crucial to speak with professionals about your condition to create action plans for how to manage your asthma. Asthma is very manageable but it is important to monitor your condition to ensure you are prioritizing your health.

For more information regarding asthma check out these resources:

Asthma in Older Adults


Tips for Asthma Prevention

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