How Can Asthma Change Over Time?

Asthma--like many chronic conditions--ebbs and flows with its symptoms. Sometimes it is more severe and we may need additional help managing it, and other times we may forget we even have it. We hear from many people on our Facebook page that say that their asthma has changed a lot since they were a child, teen, or young adult. We asked our advocate team, “How has your asthma changed over time?” Here’s what they said.

My asthma has improved in adulthood

Response from John Bottrell

Great question. I have asthma all my life. And I'm 50 years old, so I have 50 years of asthma experiences to base my answer on. As a kid, my asthma was often referred to as "high risk" or "brittle." Exposure to my trigger (mostly your common allergens like dust mites, mold spores, animal dander) triggered severe allergy and asthma attacks. I would say my asthma attacks were the "halfway in" type I describe in my post "3 Types Of Asthma Attacks."

So, this made my life pretty difficult as a kid. I was not able to do many of the things normal kids do, such as participate in gym class, play in forts, or dusty basements. As an adult, my asthma attacks are relatively mild in comparison. Why the change? Why did my asthma improve with age?

I do have some theories, one being that my airways are larger now than when I was a kid. Another is that there are so many great asthma medicines today, and so much better asthma wisdom. Today, thanks to better asthma control, I am able to do most of the things I enjoy doing despite asthma.

My asthma has worsened

Response from Nicola Saunders

My asthma has gotten progressively worse over the years. As a child, it was only a problem if I was with another illness such as a cold or an infection. As a young adult, I struggled to live what other people would consider a normal life. Asthma attacks would be triggered by weather, cleaning products, emotions, and even when I was in a completely relaxed state, fast asleep.

In 2018 I was diagnosed with severe asthma as it was not at all controlled despite a lot of medication. My asthma is now improving again and I really hope one day I can be medication free again.

Exercise helped me breathe better

Response from Samuel Taylor

My asthma improved a lot in my early years of college. I began to eat better and exercise more. Initially, exercise was difficult, but after about a month I could feel that my cardiovascular health was improving. I began hiking, practicing yoga, and climbing; all of which brought my attention to my breathing and helped me breathe better.

Learning more has helped

Response from Leon Lebowitz

In the early years of this condition, following the initial 'house call' visits from my family physician, I was able to manage episodic attacks by using the then available medications. I can recall using Tedral tablets, theophylline capsules, and occasionally prednisone.

As the years progressed and, once I became a respiratory therapist, I was able to use the metered dose inhaler that was current and recommended in the day. So, I began with Primatene Mist, and then Isuprel, the Bronkometer, and finally Proventil, over the years. There were also times when I maintained a small electric aerosol compressor (with nebulizer) in the house (with medication) for aerosol treatments. Since I worked with pulmonologists every day, should the need arise, I was fortunate to have immediate consultations as to how to manage whatever was happening to me at the time.

Over time, I became so familiar with my condition, I was able to completely manage it on my own and kept in touch with my physician or colleague, as necessary. Currently, this condition is kept under good control by using twice daily Advair, and a rescue inhaler when needed.

I can exercise now!

Response from Kyky Knight

I can exercise! Which is something I never thought I'd be able to do. Thanks to learning what pace my body can handle with sports and my medication, I am able to move around, but I have to be cautious and I take my inhaler on hikes and walks always. I also sleep easier through the night than I used to. Previously with my asthma, I would have chest tightness and pain all night long.

It's now under control

Response from Becky Greiner

As a child with asthma, the medication options were very limited at the time. I had to sit out of a lot of activities because it wasn't as well-managed as it is now. I didn't do any sports in school and didn't really get into physical exercise. I also couldn't have any pets that weren't hypoallergenic.

Now that my asthma is well-controlled, I'm a runner and do frequent races without experiencing symptoms. I also have a dog and two cats and there isn't a whole lot that I can't do now, and it feels great!

How has your asthma changed over time? Share in the comments below!

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