House Call Doctor takes on 2 popular myths about asthma.
The 2 most popular “facts” about asthma are:
1. Asthma is only developed in childhood
2. The only symptom of asthma is wheezing
Both of these statements are false. Here’s why:
While it’s true that most people nowadays get diagnosed with asthma in childhood, adults can develop similar forms of it later in life, especially if they are smokers or have been exposed to certain chemicals in the air through their work or environment.
Secondly, while asthma does cause wheezing, there are many people with asthma who will cough instead of wheeze. When there are irritants in the air that people are sensitive to, like dog or cat hair, or simply during exercise for some, the upper lung airways become inflamed and tighten. This in turn can cause a cough.
Diagnosing asthma is easily done with a special breathing test that your doctor can order, called a “pulmonary function test.” An asthma inhaler can be prescribed to see if your cough goes away.
Inhaler image courtesy of Shutterstock