Why Adult Onset Asthma Presents Unique Challenges
Adult onset asthma can present differing problems from those faced when asthma is contracted during childhood, not the least of these being that the difficulty can be work related and threaten a long established career. It is also far less likely that the condition will clear up when the first attacks occur in a grown adult. While there is still every chance that the condition can be managed well enough to allow the patient a fundamentally normal life, only careful management can allow this to happen.
It is not known what the exact cause of asthma is, whether it is contracted during childhood or later in life. It is clear that environmental factors play the largest part, and this is certainly true of adult asthma where any genetic factor would have been likely to emerge in childhood. Adult asthma is far more likely to be caused by a cumulative effect over many years, either in the work environment or at home. Exposure to dust mites for a prolonged period can cause breathing difficulties in adults, just as it can greatly increase the risk of asthma in children. Pollutants in the work environment are only now being recognized as the potential danger which they are, and legislation is still not tight enough.
Work related breathing conditions are only now starting to be taken as seriously as they should always have been. There is no doubt that working in a factory with materials which are known to contribute to asthma and breathing difficulties is going to have a negative cumulative effect. Many modern building materials produce a toxic dust, and while it is always possible to wear protective face masks there is no guarantee that when the masks come off in other parts of the building that potential allergens are not still present.
The most obvious problem caused by adult onset asthma is that someone may have trained for a certain career for many years, and be long established in that career and earning good money in a highly skilled job. To expect them to leave that career when they may have no obvious alternative skill is obviously asking a lot, especially if they have a family to support. Employers have to do everything they can to reduce exposure to the material which is causing the difficulty, but even this may not be enough to prevent attacks, and long periods away from productive work.
The onset of asthma will be more problematic in an individual already suffering from health problems. A cigarette smoker will find the attacks far more severe as their breathing will be restricted in any case, and quitting smoking becomes more difficult the later in life it is left. It is definitely worthwhile to look into hypnotherapy as an aid to quitting smoking, because failing to quit can have extremely serious consequences for an asthmatic. Obesity will also aggravate asthma attacks, and the asthma in turn will make exercising to lose weight more dangerous.
The best way to approach adult onset asthma is by improving general fitness, but by doing so in a structured and gentle way. Lose weight by cutting down calories while maintaining the intake of essential nutrients, and make sure that the exercise you take is extremely gentle. Walking in a natural environment away from traffic and gentle swimming are the best ways of burning off fat without dramatically increasing the heart rate or aggravating the breathing. These forms of exercise can be carried out safely even when you are on long term drugs to stabilize your asthma condition, and they will help your body to cope with adult onset asthma.Written by Mary Ellison.
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