Many menopausal women suffer from allergies or asthma without knowing that they might be related. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung disorder, producing a characteristic wheezing and other respiratory symptoms. Allergies, on the other hand, are triggered by an exaggerated response of the immune system to a normally harmless substance. Allergies and asthma, often co-existing together, are on the rise worldwide, and the reasons behind it are not fully understood. Continue reading to learn about the relationship between asthma in adults and allergies.
About Asthma and Allergies in Adults
Although asthma is more prevalent in children, adult women can develop it as well. When asthma is diagnosed at age of 20 and older, it is referred to as adult-onset asthma. The most common triggers of asthma in adult women include allergies and workplace or household irritants, such as cigarettes or certain chemicals.
Allergies, alike asthma, can be developed at any age. Allergens known to trigger allergic reactions include pollen from grasses, weeds, and trees; mold spores; dust mites; and animal dander, urine, and saliva, especially from cats, which cause allergies twice as often as dogs. Allergies can also be related to food, such as seafood or peanuts.
How Are Adult Asthma and Allergies Related?
For most women, the typical allergy symptoms include cold-like symptoms, like runny nose or watery eyes. However, sometimes the immune system can become so sensitive to certain airborne allergens that it triggers asthma attacks when they are inhaled. Allergy-induced asthma is the most common type of asthma.
Women are more likely to develop adult-onset asthma than men. It is believed to be influenced by hormonal changes during menopause, especially with long-term use of estrogen. Obesity, having allergies, and reduced lung capacity, which typically declines with age, predisposes middle-aged women to adult asthma.
Asthma and Allergy Symptoms
The triggers for an allergic reaction and asthma attack are usually the same, but the symptoms differ:
- Swollen tongue or throat, difficulty swallowing
- Itchy mouth, throat, nose, eyes, and ears
- Shortness of breath, cough, wheezing
- Nasal, sinus, and chest congestion
- Runny nose, sneezing
- Vomiting, stomach cramps
- Red and watery eyes
- Hives, skin rash
- Increased coughing in the morning and at night
- Chest tightness or pain
- Shortness of breath
Treatments for Allergic Asthma
The most effective way to reduce the occurrence of asthma attacks is to limit your exposure to allergens that trigger them. Depending on the type of allergy, preventive measures include wearing a mask when spending time outdoors, allergy-proofing your house with HEPA filters, or reducing mold growth in the bathroom and kitchen.
In most cases, however, a proper asthma management plan is necessary, because most of the symptoms of adult-onset asthma are very persistent. It involves the use of asthma medications to reduce the lung inflammation, such as corticosteroid inhalers or long-lasting beta-agonist inhalers. Even if they are not taken daily, they should be easily accessible to you in case of a severe asthma flare-up.
There is no cure for asthma. It is a serious disease, and its adult-onset form has poorer response to standard asthma treatment. Older women are at the highest risk of asthma, so it is important to implement various lifestyle changes, as well as to create a reliable plan to keep your asthma and allergies under control. You might find some of these home remedies useful for relieving your allergies.