Purpose of review
To identify the similarities and differences between nonwork-related adult-onset and occupational asthma from various literature sources published between 2010 and 2013, with respect to the epidemiology, phenotypic manifestations, and risk factors for the disease.
The incidence of adult-onset asthma from pooled population studies is estimated to be 3.6 per 1000 person-years in men and 4.6 cases per 1000 person-years in women. In adults with new-onset asthma, occupational asthma is a common asthma phenotype. Work-related factors are estimated to account for up to 25% of adult cases of asthma and occupational asthma comprising about 16% of adult-onset asthma cases. The review finds that nonwork-related adult-onset asthma is a heterogenous entity and that environmental exposure factors (aside from occupational exposures) appear to have a lesser role than host factors when compared with occupational asthma.
Large-scale general population studies are needed to identify the similarities and differences between nonwork-related adult-onset and occupational asthma, which may enable a better understanding of these entities and promote efforts towards holistic management approaches for these asthma phenotypes.