The Difference Between Childhood Asthma and Adult-Onset Asthma

July 11, 2018
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN

If you have an aging loved one with asthma, you may know a lot about this lung disease already. You might already know that it is characterized by inflammation of the lungs, and is an overreaction by the body to stimuli that irritate the lungs, such as allergens in the air. You and your home health care aide might both know the best ways to treat asthma in your aging loved one, and what can trigger it, but there may be one thing you don’t know.

Types of Asthma

There are two types of asthma: childhood asthma and adult-onset asthma.

Since asthma is mostly thought of as a childhood malady, people may not expect that one can contract asthma as an adult. However, out of the over 25 million people in the United States that have asthma, only 8 million of these are children. Adults can just as easily be diagnosed with asthma as children can, and this likelihood increases after the age of 50.

So what is the difference between childhood and adult-onset asthma?

Symptoms for Childhood Asthma vs Adult-Onset Asthma

When it comes to symptoms, the answer is: “not a lot.”

Symptoms of asthma at any age can include:

  • Congestion
  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Wheezing
  • Pressure in the chest
  • Shortness of breath

Triggers for Childhood Asthma vs Adult-Onset Asthma

The triggers for both types of asthma are largely the same as well.

Asthma attacks are often caused by a reaction to allergens, such as smoke, mildew, mold, dust mites, and animal dander.

They can also be triggered by cold air, dry air, exercise, or stress and emotional excitement.

Treatment for Childhood Asthma vs Adult-Onset Asthma

Treatment is the same as well.

In both cases, avoiding asthma triggers is the first course of action. Inhalers and other medications prescribed by a doctor are also vital, as are regular checkups.

Asthma is no joke for either children or adults, so it is important to stay on top of it and keep track of symptoms. You and your home health care aide should have an action plan if there is an emergency.

Difference Between Childhood Asthma and Adult-Onset Asthma

Getting back to our comparison, though, there is one way in which childhood asthma and adult-onset asthma differ.

Childhood Asthma: In children, the symptoms of asthma are intermittent. They come and they go, and sometimes they go away forever once the child reaches puberty. Sometimes they can return later in life, but often, the child seems to just “grow out of it.”

Adult-Onset Asthma: For seniors with asthma, though, this is not the case. When adults have asthma, it is chronic and persistent. They deal with symptoms every day, and it does not just simply go away as it might if they were children. This can cause many problems, and may even lead to death among the elderly, whose lungs become weakened by the disease.

While asthma is just as serious in children as it is in adults, even more care must be taken in dealing with adults with asthma, due to the persistent nature of the condition, and the fact that it could put them at risk for even more severe lung problems.

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care Services

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring home health care services, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids today. (888) 592-5855.