When you were a child perhaps you experienced allergic reactions to foods, airborne particles, or environmental factors. As you got older, your allergy symptoms may have lessened or disappeared entirely. You may have “outgrown” your allergies.
For many years, people who suffered from allergies during childhood believed their allergies disappeared with age. Also, asthma was seen as a condition that developed in childhood only. But what were common beliefs then, now have been proven true with some interesting facts.
Allergies Follow with Age
According to a recent article published in the Wall Street Journal, allergies affect 17% to 20% of the U.S. population, and that proportion doesn’t decrease with age.
One theory is that all of us have what is called a “lifetime load,” wherein we are resistant to certain allergies, but over time we’re exposed to so much dust, mold, and other factors that they begin to breakdown our immune system’s ability to resist the irritants. For example, you may have never been allergic to dust before, but you may develop allergies to dust forty years later.
One thing that can greatly affect an individual’s sensitivity to allergens is moving from one region of the country to another. When you go to a different climate that also means that you’re bound to come into contact with new irritants that your body and immune system isn’t accustomed to.
These new irritants could be related to the growing season, the atmospheric conditions, or the various types of elements found in that area, and they can certainly affect an adult.
For example, if someone who has lived in New England their entire life moves to Florida or someone who grew up in the Southwest moves to the Northern Midwest,this move could be the recipe for allergic reactions.
As you age, you go through various physiological changes, and these can affect your sensitivity and susceptibility to allergies. Those who are older have less water in their bodies and that means that protective hairs, such as the cilia in your nasal passages, become drier and less effective in keeping out allergy-causing agents.
Also, nasal cavities tend to be drier in older people, as there is less blood flow to the nose. That can create an atmosphere conducive to allergic reactions.
Many adults over the age of twenty develop asthma, even if they never had it as children. Suddenly they may find that they are wheezing and coughing, feel tightness in their chest, and experience difficulty in breathing.
These are the symptoms of adult-onset asthma. Most people who develop this condition, in which there’s swelling and inflammation of their airway linings, muscle contractions around the airways, and the production of large amounts of thick mucous, also have allergies. Adult-onset asthma can become a very serious condition if not treated properly.
Diagnoses is Important
As an adult, it’s important to get your allergies and adult-onset asthma diagnosed. There are a few reasons as to why you would want to have these conditions confirmed. First, some of the symptoms associated with these conditions mirror other, more serious problems.
It’s important to rule those out. Second, proper treatment of allergies or asthma will help protect your health, as you grow older and more susceptible to conditions that can compromise your health.
If you are an adult experiencing allergy or asthma symptoms, contact Dr. Light at 561-737-8584, allergy Specialist in Boynton Beach serving patients throughout South Florida ; you may also contact the doctor by filling out the convenient form located on the right side of this page.
Adult allergies and asthma are more common than you may think and addressing these conditions sooner than later will help to make you healthier, happier, and more energetic.