Can Asthma Go Away and Come Back?

Ask the experts

Why did my asthma attacks start back after 23 years? I'm a 51-year-old man who exercises daily by running or walking. I had frequent asthma attacks from age 1 to 23. I had no asthma attacks from age 24 through 46. I had an angioplasty at 46, at which point, I began strict low-fat diet. I began a regular exercise program at 47. All three attacks during the last five years immediately followed my contraction of an upper-respiratory virus.

Doctor's response

It is not uncommon for asthma to occur in youth , disappear , only to recur in middle age. Upper respiratory viral infections often result in airway inflammation. This inflammation seems to make receptors in the airway more sensitive to stimuli. When this occurs the muscle in the airways twitch and bronchospasm (asthma attack) follows.

The reason for the age related changes is unclear but probably is the result of changes in the underlying immune system. Other potential causes could include changes in hormone levels or increased exposure to external substances (infectious, allergic, pollutants).

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018
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