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Asthma May be Especially Disabling for Older Population

Roughly 9% of all senior citizens in the United States suffer from asthma. As the numbers of people above the age of 65 with this condition increase, doctors are warning of a spike in the number of seniors who will find it difficult to function as a result of asthmatic symptoms.

Asthma can cause breathing difficulties in all patients, but in patients above the age of 65, the symptoms may be even more pronounced. That is due to a number of reasons.

  • Seniors often suffer from a number of age-related conditions that cause symptoms to exacerbate. Those conditions can include weaker lungs and rigid chest walls that make breathing even more difficult during an attack.
  • Seniors may suffer from lower immunity that makes them susceptible to infections that can trigger more frequent asthma symptoms.
  • Seniors may be less responsive to some of the most commonly used asthma medications, like corticosteroids.
  • Inhalers can help control symptoms, and assist with breathing, but experts believe that less than half of all of senior citizens with asthma actually use inhalers. This is due to a number of factors, including poor vision, impaired fine motor coordination, and associated costs.
  • Seniors are at a much higher risk for conditions like diabetes and heart disease that make it difficult for them to receive complete treatment for their asthma symptoms.

All of these issues can make it difficult for our nation’s older population to manage the effects of asthma and, in many cases, function as required in their jobs.  One of the best things for seniors with asthma is to have a good support system in place that can help them monitor their condition, receive proper medical care, and learn how to best address an asthma attack in the early stages.