Sunday, September 15, 2013

Asthma in Older People

Asthma in general is a condition that must be given full attention to avoid serious symptoms.

“Asthma is a condition that affects the airways - the small tubes that carry the air in and out of the lungs. Its symptoms are caused by inflammation, which makes the airways red, swollen, narrower and extra-sensitive to irritants.
This leads to recurrent attacks of the following symptoms, a person with asthma may suffer some of these symptoms, a combination of these symptoms or even all of them;
  • wheezing
  • breathlessness 
  • chest tightness
  • coughing

Mild attacks can settle down without treatment, but treatment usually helps them to resolve more quickly. Appropriate treatment can also reduce the risk of further attacks. If you experience a serious attack you should seek emergency help.

Asthma is a long-term (chronic) disease. Your asthma does not stay the same, but changes over time, and every person with asthma has good and bad days (or longer periods of time).

Asthma is very common. Around one out of every ten people in the Western World develops asthma at some stage in their life.” Source: Asthma Society of Ireland
 Factors that trigger the asthma attack in older people may differ from younger ones. The common triggers of asthma in elderly people are the following:
  • Viral respiratory diseases such as cold, flu; and airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, smoke.
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Some medications used frequently in older adults like aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications for arthritis and other pain; beta blockers for high blood pressure; and beta blocking eye drops used to treat glaucoma.
I believe it is considered one of the specific needs of the older person because if this medical condition is not properly attended, serious complications may arise. Though it is not worse getting asthma when you are old, but it is often more severe when started at an older age; considering that there are other medical problems an old person has while dealing with asthma.

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