Asthma and the Elderly

Asthma and the Elderly

According to The Asthma Center, Asthma affects more than 2 million adults over the age of 65. Clinical research indicates that asthma in the elderly is generally under-diagnosed and under-treated. Unfortunately this can lead to a diminished quality of life and higher morbidity and mortality than those without asthma.

Because the symptoms of asthma mimic other diseases and can often co-exist with these conditions, a diagnosis of asthma can be difficult. Diseases such as aspiration syndromes, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis GE reflux disease, congestive heart failure and cardiac disease, pulmonary embolism, primary and secondary lung cancer, drug-induced asthma symptoms and especially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are often the cause of misdiagnosis.

In the elderly, coughing is a prime symptom for asthma and though wheezing is most commonly associated with an asthma diagnosis, it may or may not be present in the elderly. Coughs may begin slowly but continue and worsen over time. The coughing may be confused with bronchitis as previously mentioned. Speak with your doctor immediately about your symptoms.

Asthma, though chronic, is much easier to treat than many other chronic pulmonary diseases once it’s diagnosed. However, dealing with, and treating the elderly with asthma presents several challenges. If the elderly have arthritis, it may be difficult for them to use and handle inhalers; some drugs used to treat asthma can exacerbate osteoporosis in the elderly, also drugs used to treat other conditions — beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, aspirin, non-steroidal anti- inflammatory medications — can trigger or worsen asthma.

At Personal Care Inc., our nurses and CNAs are trained to observe asthma’s physical symptoms and make clients aware of the risks of misdiagnosis and then help them manage their care once they have been diagnosed. We are committed to ensuring that our client’s receive the best care possible. Whether helping them manage chronic health issues or just making their day more comfortable while assisting them with activities of daily living, Personal Care with provide the same level of superlative care.

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