CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Asthma is a disease that strikes more and more people in the United States.
But, a new study sheds new light on why many who have it don't even know it. This is really important because if not treated right, asthma can be debilitating, not to mention very dangerous.
The big revelation with this latest study is that more often people are developing it as adults, but, writing off the symptoms as something else. One woman who knows all about it is Laurie Armijo.
She exercises every day, hiking, cycling, anything outdoors. But, in her forties she has to add an inhaler to her workouts since she recently developed asthma.
"I think that a lot of us just ignore some of the normal coughs," she says, "...but sometimes that persistent cough is a sign of asthma."
It's one of the most common chronic respiratory diseases in the country.
Laurie is one of more than 17 million adults known to have it. But, doctors believe there are many others who have it and don't even know it.
That comes from a new survey by National Jewish Health, which shows while wheezing and shortness of breath are asthma symptoms most people know about, barely half know trouble sleeping is also a sign, and slightly more than half realize chest pain and persistent cough are symptoms as well.
"So a lot of people are running around with asthma and don't know it," said Dr. David Beuther.
Doctor David Beuther, of National Jewish Health explains one in every 200 adults is newly diagnosed with asthma every year.
He adds while the most common symptoms show up in children, diagnosing the adults is more challenging.
"It's probably more than half the time that they don't have the traditional symptoms, or they don't have all the symptoms so it's not as straightforward and so I think the diversity of asthma in how it shows up and how it feels to the patient is much greater in the adulthood than childhood," said Dr. Butler.
But he stresses adults with asthma can live active lives that is, with proper treatment and careful management.
Common triggers of asthma for both children and adults include allergies, exercise, cold air and environmental irritants like smoke or pollution.
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