Young Adult Asthma?


Okay, while steering clear of medical advice, I just wanted to know if anybody knew of people being diagnosed with asthma or developing asthma in their young adult years (I’m 20). Searching online, I find that usually one must be a child (<15) or adult (45>).

I’m going to the doctor tomorrow (if there is an appt. available, that is) on the advice of my boyfriend, who has asthma and recognized all of my symptoms (only one I’m missing is wheezing). So, I know the doctor will be able to make a diagnosis, but I just wanted more input so I’m not totally uninformed when I go in. (Links to relevant sites I may have missed would be helpful).

I do know it’s not bacterial, because I’ve taken two courses of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor, and they make absolutely no effect. (Delsym type medicines likewise have very little effect). It can’t be viral either, because nobody around me has gotten sick, especially including my boyfriend ;). I’m not a smoker, though I am around cigarette smoke sometimes outside at school (REALLY bothersome). It’s just been this stinkin’ cough for 6-7 weeks now that won’t go away. (I don’t cough all the time, thank goodness, it seems to come in bursts, and then in between there’s this constant tightness/tickle in my lungs).

So, that’s why I’m wondering, as I wait until my doctor’s appt. Is it even possible to develop asthma as an young adult?


I have no idea. I had my own when I was younger than 15 and I still have it. My friend’s sister was 26 or something when she found out, but I don’t know how she was before in that regard (as in if she hadn’t had some early mild stage). I haven’t heard about any <15 or >45 limitations. I’d imagine that there’d be exceptions anyway.


You can develop asthma in any time. The majority of times, asthma is caused by allergies. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean runny nose, watery eyes, etc… But any reaction to a substance that you breathe. From the nose to the lungs is basically one tube with many branches in the lungs. It would make sense tha the inflammation that enters the nose can affect the lungs. I’m glad you are seeing your physician.


I know a few folks whose cold symptoms last for a couple of months. You might just have something like that, but it’s a good idea to go to the doctor.


I’m pretty sure my sis did around the same age as you. It may be the kind of thing that you have it when you are younger, but it isn’t bad so it isn’t diagnosed, but either your environment changes or it gets worse as you get older, so it becomes more of an issue. :shrug: Good luck getting it figured out though! :smiley:


Could it be seasonal allergies? My husband never had asthma, but this allergy season he developed allergic asthma. And I have it every yr around the worst part of the seasonal allergies.


I know a lot of people who have developed allergies during their college years (me, my siblings, my DH… that’s just in our family)…
I also know allergies are associated with asthma…

So I’m sure it’s possible…

Oh… one thing to think about… have you moved to a new town for college? Sometimes you can experience new allergies (that may in turn induce asthma symptoms) due to a new environment… different trees, plants, mold, dust exposure… especially in college dorms or apartments…

My advice… see an allergist. Go through the scratch tests so you can determine exactly what you’re allergic to or what may be causing your asthma symptoms.

Good luck!


That might be it–I hadn’t thought about allergic asthma. Normally I get just drainage and occasionally a runny nose, but right now it seems to be only in the lungs. So perhaps this year it’s just a different reaction to the same allergy. I’ll bring up the idea to the doctor and see what he thinks. Thanks!

Just was kinda weird to develop it now, so that’s why I was wondering if it was even possible.

I appreciate everybody’s input…I feel a bit more prepared for the doctor’s appt, now. :slight_smile:


I just posted then I saw your new post–and thanks for the good luck! Nope…still in the same town. But perhaps this city has a different makeup of pollen this spring, that would explain it.

Thanks for the advice and the good luck wishes! (Hopefully the doctor will refer me to it or perhaps even do it in office on Wednesday when I go in–I would like to know what triggers it so I can avoid it)

I feel so much better now with everybody’s input :slight_smile: Just more prepared…


Yes, head to an allergist(asthma, allergy and immunology) to get the testing done.

Be aware that to do skin testing you need to be off antihistamines for 5 days prior - having antihistamines in your system block the test from working. There is bloodwork (RAST) that you can do without being off antihistamines, but it is only 80% reliable, whereas the skin testing is 90% reliable, so skin is preferred. When you call to make the allergist appointment they will tell you all about it. While each place will work it slightly differently, the skin testing usually consists of 2 parts - scratching a panel of different antigens into your forearms (doesn’t draw blood), and waiting to see if it turns into a mosquito bite after 15 minutes, and then doing intradermal testing, where they place a small amount of fluid right under the skin, and then again wait 15 minutes to see if it starts to look like a mosquito bite. Depending on what you are allergic to, there are environmental changes you can make in your home, medication you can take, or shots you can get to help alleviate your symptoms.

The allergist can also do a spirometry test, which is where you blow into a tube and your lung function is measured. Oftentimes they will then have you take 2 puffs of albuterol inhaler(quick acting bronchodilator) and then redo the spirometry to see what, if any, improvement you have had with the albuterol. This helps in the diagnosis. And yes, you can develop asthma at any time in your life.

Good luck at your appointment!


Thank you so much for writing–this is definitely great to know what is expected! I really appreciate having an idea of what might be ahead of me. My appt’s for tomorrow afternoon, so I will see how that goes–probably will get the referral to the allergist (in order to keep it covered by insurance!) but that will be a step further than I was before :slight_smile: And glad to know that asthma isn’t just a specific age group event–I thought I was going crazy or perhaps a bit alarmist, but then I get another nice ol’ attack and that makes me glad I’m going to the doctor, still. :slight_smile:


I’m asthmatic. I’ve only been asthmatic for two years, now and I’ve only been on a controller medicine for one. I’ll be 18 in two months. I’ve lived in the same town my whole life and no circumstances [like being around a smoker or anything] has caused it. It just happened.

I had a chronic cough and ended up with random spells of bronchitis [and one of pneumonia that I landed a four day stay in the hospital with]. Asthma is no fun, but, if that’s what you have, medicine will definitely help the cough. I don’t have a cough unless I’m actually sick anymore :slight_smile:

Good luck.


Hi holly_potter, I had asthma when I was small. Actually, it was pretty bad, until I hit puberty, and then it just went away for the most part. I don’t know if it will come back one day, though that thought has always been at the back of my mind. I’m not aware of (young) adults developing asthma, if they didn’t have it already when they were younger. It may also have to do with geographical region and other factors. For instance, if a certain area has lots of irritants, like air pollution and such, then I would think that people would run a higher risk of developing these symptoms.

It is entirely possible, in my opinion, that what you’ve described could be explained away by seasonal allergies; however, I’m not qualified to dispense medical diagnosis/advice. In general, you will know that you have asthma when you have it.

Hope this helps!


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