Why Does Asthma Reappear In Adulthood?

I am a 42-year-old man who has asthma that is normally triggered by animal dander, house dust, and strenuous activity in cold weather. I’ve had this condition since childhood, but it had gotten better after puberty. When I was young, I took a medication called Tedral, which took care of my attacks. After puberty, I was able to control my asthma attacks with over-the-counter medications. In the last few years, my asthma has returned.

We often hear that a person’s asthma halted at puberty. In fact, we tell parents that 50 percent of children with asthma will stop having symptoms at this time. However, although they may have no symptoms of asthma, they should not be viewed as “cured.” Rather, it is more appropriate to consider them “accidents ready to happen,” since they could once again have asthma symptoms.

In your case, asthma never halted, but lessened. It is typical for the same triggers to prompt your asthma symptoms now as when you were younger.

In my view, patients with asthma should not rely on over-the-counter medications unless so directed by their physicians. Tedral, a medication used in the 1960s and earlier, was a mixture of ephedrine, a barbiturate (to calm the effect of the ephedrine), and theophylline. Theophylline is still used today for asthma control. There are many new and very effective medications now available for the quick relief and long-term control of asthma.

You should see your physician to make sure that what you are now experiencing is asthma. Your physician should also stage your asthma to determine if it is intermittent or persistent and help you determine what has caused your asthma to worsen. That will allow both of you to determine the best approach for long-term control.

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