Asthma Management at Any Age

It's essential to adjust your asthma management plan for different stages of your life. At any age, the key to treating asthma is to have a comprehensive action plan that includes these basic components:

  • Measurement tools to monitor your asthma.
  • Fast-acting and control medications.
  • Identification of your triggers and a plan to reduce exposure.
  • Emergency care when needed.

Asthma In Your 20s and 30s

The hormonal changes that occur with pregnancy can increase your adult asthma risk, as can coming into contact with workplace allergens. Your doctor can help you develop a management strategy that consists of using long-acting control medications and fast-acting relief inhalers, as well lifestyle modifications to reduce exposure to allergens and other triggers. This is a good time to establish healthy habits. Exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and engage in yoga or meditation to reduce stress and help keep your respiratory system working at its best.

Asthma In Your 30s and 40s

Your hectic lifestyle, coupled with exposure to seasonal and environmental allergens and irritants, can all contribute to ongoing asthma problems. If you're overweight, address the problem now. There's been increasing evidence in recent years that obesity and asthma are connected. Work with your doctor to develop a healthy diet and to increase your physical activity without putting too much strain on your respiratory system.

If exercise-induced asthma is a concern, use an inhaler before you exercise and take the time to warm up and cool down to help ward off an attack. Get plenty of rest, avoid germs, get an annual flu shot, allergy proof your home, and take your asthma medications as directed.

Asthma In Your 50s

For women going through menopause, fluctuations in hormones can trigger existing asthma, or lead to asthma in someone who never experienced symptoms before. Women using estrogen supplements are more likely to experience asthma than men, according to the Harvard Nurses Health Study. For both sexes, a cold or other illness that seems to linger for longer than usual can signal the onset of adult asthma. Smoke and other irritants can make symptoms worse, so it's important to steer clear of such triggers on a regular basis.

Asthma In Your 60s and Beyond

It's typical to experience a decrease in lung capacity as you age. This can make it difficult for your doctor to recognize asthma symptoms.  Keep in mind that a number of health conditions like Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) can look very similar to asthma. You may need to undergo testing for proper diagnosis. Additionally, asthma can co-exist with other ailments, making it more challenging to identify what's really going on.

Your doctor can determine how best to coordinate treatment for multiple issues and prevent any drug interactions. You may also become more sensitive to some of your medications as you get older, so pay attention to any unusual side effects. If using your inhaler is becoming increasingly difficult due to arthritis or decreased strength in your hands, your doctor can suggest more user-friendly alternatives.

With a good asthma management plan in place that's regularly updated as your life changes, you can control your asthma at any age.




Allergy and Asthma Health. "Diagnosis and Treatment of Asthma in Elderly Patients." Web. 3 Feb. 2012.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. "Adult Onset of Asthma." Web. 3 Feb. 2012.

European Federation of Allergy and Airway Diseases Patients Association. "Asthma at Different Life Stages." Web. 3 Feb. 2012.

Ohio State University Medical Center. "Management of Asthma." Web. 3 Feb. 2012.