"I was so sick of being sick, I wanted to die."Doctors eventually diagnosed a particularly severe form of the disease, sometimes known as brittle asthma. I work as a sales manager for a wine company, so I travel all over Europe, but in those first few years, I had to cancel so many trips."Abrahams, now 43, has learnt to manage her condition in the 11 years since her first attack.
But for the large majority of late-onset cases, the issue is management rather than cure.Nobody knows why, just as no one can say with certainty what causes the condition.Most experts do, however, agree that almost all cases are likely to have a genetic cause."As far as we know, there's no single gene that makes you more likely to develop asthma," says Professor Martyn Partridge, consultant chest physician at Charing Cross Hospital and chief medical adviser to Asthma UK.There is also anecdotal evidence that being overweight can exacerbate the symptoms."The jury is still out on whether obesity causes asthma," says Prof Partridge."It could simply be that people with existing but very mild symptoms of breathlessness find they become more acute with obesity." However, many overweight asthmatics find that their symptoms improve dramatically with weight loss.Your use of our Service is subject to the following Terms and Conditions of Use (these "Terms") set out in this Member Agreement ("Agreement").The terms "you", "your" and "yourself" each means the person who accesses the Service whether or not such person is a paid member.Your working environment can make you more likely to develop asthma, too.Roughly 10 to 15 per cent of cases of late- onset asthma are work-related; people dealing with chemicals, animals or flour are particularly at risk."Many patients with so-called late-onset asthma were 'chesty' children," he says."They suffered bouts of what was probably identified at the time as bronchitis, but was likely to have been undiagnosed asthma."While having certain genes can make you more susceptible, the triggers that bring about the condition vary widely. "Cases of late-onset asthma in women peak around the menopause," says Prof Partridge.