Ask the Allergist
Can You Develop Asthma at Any Age?
Asthma typically develops during childhood but can develop at any age. Approximately 5.1 million children (under the age of 18) have asthma in the United States. About 12% of adolescents are affected by asthma, worldwide. Asthma can develop in the adult years. It affects around 2 million individuals (aged 65 and older) in the United States.
A family history of asthma, common asthma symptoms and triggers, and lung function tests can help diagnose it. If the diagnosis is unclear, other conditions should be considered, such as:
- viral bronchiolitis
- gastroesophageal reflux disease
- chronic lung disease secondary to premature birth with underdevelopment of the lungs
- cystic fibrosis
John M. James, MD, is a board-certified allergist. He is also President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services, LLC. He has worked as a medical specialist in the field of allergy, asthma, and immunology for over 30 years. Dr. James received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Tennessee. He is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology.