Adult Onset Asthma: One Woman’s Story

My chronic cough turned out to be adult asthma tells the story of one woman who had a cough she just couldn't shake.

When ribs bruised from violent coughing landed her in the emergency room, 40-year-old Linda Finlayson of New Jersey learned that she had asthma, most likely triggered by a bout of pneumonia. Although she had never had asthma before, Linda developed the condition after her lung infection.

To prevent asthma attacks, Linda takes several medications, including corticosteroids, a bronchiodilator, and allergy medicines to prevent an allergic response and congestion, which could trigger asthma symptoms.

While these measures helped keep Linda's asthma from flaring up, she decided to do more to improve her lung function specifically, and her health in general. She signed up for a half marathon and began running. Her lung function has improved significantly, and while her doctors are not comfortable taking her off her medications, she rarely has asthma attacks now.

As with many asthma sufferers, Linda is quite affected by allergies, which can lead to asthma symptom flare-ups. Spring seasonal allergies are particularly challenging for her; she has to be very careful not to get congested because the mucus drips into her lungs and causes breathing difficulty. Cat dander and secondhand smoke are also potent allergens for Linda, and can lead to asthma attacks.

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