Harvard Health Letter

Ask the doctor: Asthma at any age

Q. I'm 50 years old, and lately I've been wheezing when I play tennis. Can I get asthma at my age?

A. You can get asthma as an adult, without ever having had it in childhood. And your wheezing might be caused by asthma, but it also can be caused by other conditions.

Wheezes are musical sounds, sustained notes, produced somewhere in your respiratory system. Sometimes they occur when you breathe in and sometimes when you breathe out. They signal an obstruction somewhere in your respiratory system. Wheezes often occur during an asthma attack, when the small breathing tubes in the lungs clamp down and fill with mucous.

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