Why do some people develop asthma later in life?
A. People can develop asthma at any point during their lives. Some people are diagnosed with asthma for the first time later in life. They have what is called ‘late-onset asthma.’ 70% of late-onset asthma does not have an allergic basis. This is different from many other people whose asthma symptoms can be triggered by allergies to things like the house-dust mite and pollen. In older people, the symptoms of asthma are more likely to be triggered by catching a cold or irritants such as cigarette smoke, household chemical sprays and fragrances. Asthma can be difficult to detect in older people as some of the symptoms – cough, wheeze and shortness of breath – are shared with other conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (also known as COPD) and heart disease, which are more common among older people. The main message is that if you have had asthma in the past and become breathless or wheezy again later in life, or you develop breathlessness