A disease which increases twitchiness and responsiveness of airways in your body to any stimuli that can cause blockage of the airways is called asthma. Narrowing of muscles around the airway causes infection result in swelling and increased secretion. It will cause you coughing and difficulty in breathing. This disease is very uncomfortable and painful especially if you have weak immune system. People who have this kind of disease are not only children and adults but also elders.
Based on The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration survey, there are more than 1 million Americans who are 65 years old and older has asthma. It shows how the elders grow faster in having asthma disease. In today’s article you will find out important things about elders with asthma and treatment of asthma in elders patients.
Is asthma in elders different than the other?
Usually people who have asthma have been experiencing the disease since they were at their young age. But the fact is that asthma can develop to anyone in any age. But, when asthma occurs at later ages like in 70s or 80s, the symptoms are quite the same with anyone who has the experience. The common reasons why people have asthma are because allergens, virus or infection of respiratory, exercise and irritant or air pollution. We can get irritants and allergens since they can be found in our environment we live in every day. Usually, people with asthma experience shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness of the chest and cough.
For elders, asthma can be a disease with more risks since they can develop failed respiratory because of the asthma they have even though the symptoms are mild. For your information, elders with mild symptoms of asthma can have difficulty of breathing as same as youngster with severe asthma. Asthma is very different in elder patients compare to youngsters. It is also because elders with asthma hardly go into remission. It becomes more serious disease for elders.
Is it difficult to diagnose asthma in elders?
The answer is yes. It is because elders have similar symptoms between asthma and other diseases. That’s why it can be missed diagnose. Usually, symptoms of asthma in elders can be in a form of coughing when fluid coughed out from their lungs. Doctor maybe diagnoses this kind of symptoms as other illness. It can be congestive heart failure or chronic bronchitis. Specifically, emphysema and heart disease are very common to be had in elders especially those who smoke. Smokers also tend to have asthma symptoms.
When elders experience symptoms of asthma which are including chronic cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightened with your daily activities such as shopping, gardening, housework or even walking, make sure you go and talk to your doctor. If you let those symptoms untreated, asthma can be worse and create serious risk for your health.
How asthma should be treated?
There are many ways to treat asthma symptoms. There are also various prescriptions of medication that can relieve the symptoms quickly as long as it is controlled well. The simple way is by changing lifestyle from bad to good habits. It can reduce the symptoms especially when asthma is triggered by unknown substance in our environment or allergies. Even though food that can cause elders to have asthma is rare, it doesn’t mean it is impossible. The strong recommendation to avoid experiencing the symptoms for elders is by having regular vaccinations for pneumonia and influenza.
Are there any special treatments for elders who have asthma?
Yes, of course. First thing first, treatments applied for elders are quite complicated since many elders take various medications because they have complex health conditions. Several asthma medications may react with those kinds of treatment that can make elders patients experience serious side effects. Even other medical treatments and medications can make asthma symptoms worse.
Second, elder patients tend to have memory problems and mental confusion compare to young patients. It can be the explanation why many elders have Alzheimer disease. It will make the treatment for asthma symptoms more difficult because they can forget to follow the rules (do and don’ts) of treatment instruction. It can be worse if elders also take several medications for their health issues.
Third, common asthma medications are in the form of dose inhaler with L-shaped metered. It requires specific degree of dexterity and manual coordination which elders will have difficulty to do this. This medication device can be a problem since they may have incorrect dose. That’s why avoid using this kind of medication device for elders but instead using dry powder inhaler as medical treatment. Oral medications or dry powder inhaler can be easier way for elders to take medication regularly.
Who should help elders to treat this asthma disease or allergies?
Usually, people who help elders with asthma disease and allergies are relative or family. They help them to check your medication, treatment, accompany them to go to doctor for medical check-up and so on. But, the important thing you have to remember is that when your elder family has severe asthma, it needs emergency treatment immediately. Taking care of him at home will make him have more risks and make the asthma worse. It’s time to find an asthma specialist and get directly prescription and treatment from him. Immunologist or allergist or pulmonologist are those who have specialty in treating patients with lung disease and especially asthma.
Treatment of asthma in elders patients may be a little bit more complex. The reasons are usually they already have several health issues and they take various medications. It’s also quite challenging to diagnose asthma symptoms in elder. That’s why even little symptoms which lead to asthma are very important to be checked as soon as possible. It’s better to use easier medical device like dry powder inhaler instead of complicated medical device. You should find an asthma specialist if the symptoms get worse. Letting the symptoms untreated will cause severe risks to elder’s health.