Developing Severe Asthma in Adulthood


Evelyn Creekmore

Was this helpful? (15)
person leaning over out of breath

You may be surprised to learn that it’s possible to develop severe asthma as an adult, even if you never had it as a child. Some adults mistake their asthma symptoms for an allergy or a stubborn cold, so the condition goes undiagnosed and untreated.

However, asthma in adults is more serious than in children and about seven times as life-threatening. Learn more about severe adult asthma for the proper diagnosis and care.

Mild and Severe Adult Asthma Symptoms

Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the airways that makes it hard to breathe. The cause of asthma isn’t fully understood, but it does tend to run in families. There is not yet a cure for asthma, but it can be managed effectively with medication and by avoiding irritants or “triggers.” Some irritants such as animal dander and pollen are allergy related. Other irritants such as smoke and strong fumes are not allergy related. Less common triggers are aspirin (aspirin-induced asthma) and exercise (exercise-induced bronchoconstriction).

When asthma doesn't respond to consistent treatment, it's considered severe asthma. Watch this video for more severe asthma facts.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: May 12, 2017

2018 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.