Asthma: Grown-ups have it, too

The condition is sometimes misdiagnosed in adults, although proper treatment could spare many bouts of coughing and wheezing.

There's been so much medical concern and media publicity about childhood asthma that you might think the disease is only a problem for children. But you'd be wrong. Although asthma usually begins in childhood, it's very much an adult disease. In fact, asthma may affect as many as 10% of people over age 65; that would make it more common in the elderly than in children.

Adult asthma sometimes goes untreated, or is treated in the wrong way, because so many other medical conditions can cause shortness of breath and wheezing. But when correctly diagnosed, asthma can be effectively controlled with treatments tailored to the needs of the individual patient.

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