5 Things Caregivers Need to Know About Asthma
Because asthma symptoms commonly occur at a young age, many are unaware adult asthma is quickly becoming a huge issue for America’s elderly population. According to the Administration on Aging, over 2 million Americans 65 years of age or older manage asthma daily. The elderly population is the fastest growing demographic for asthma posing serious medical risks. Unlike children, seniors experience and manage asthma completely differently.
5 Things Caregivers Should Know About Asthma
For those caring for a loved one managing adult asthma, being knowledgeable on adult asthma, asthma management, and treatment is pertinent for proper care. To begin, here are 5 pieces of information about adults and asthma.
1. Asthma Can Appear At Any Age
Asthma symptoms can appear at any age, even in those who are 70-80 years of age. However, adults with asthma commonly experience their first symptoms at a young age and a remission of symptoms during the beginning of adulthood. When asthma symptoms appear or reappear in adulthood they can be the same as those displayed at a young age such as wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest. More commonly adult asthma symptoms will manifest as a consistent wet coughing with the production of fluid named sputum.
2. Increased Chance Doctors Will Misdiagnose
Because seniors have the potential to develop a wide range of disease and conditions, there is an increased chance a doctor will unintentionally misdiagnose asthma for another illness. Adults are more likely to contract asthma as a side effect of other respiratory issues such as respiratory infection/virus, sinus disease, allergens, exercise and air pollution.
3. Untreated Asthma Can Result in Complications
If left untreated, adult asthma, even mild symptoms, can result in serious respiratory conditions such as respiratory failure. Unlike children’s asthma, adult asthma does not go into remission. It typically remains a consistently severe due to the age and weakened immune system of older people.
4. Asthma Treatment May Trigger Other Medical Conditions
Oral steroids are the main form of treatment for asthma in younger people. Although adults can utilize oral steroids for a short period of time, the long-term continuation of oral steroids for adult asthma can trigger other medical conditions. Consistent use can cause osteopenia, ulcers, and high blood pressure in seniors. Because adult asthma is commonly triggered by environmental factors such as allergens, lifestyle changes can be a key asthma management option.
5. Finding an Asthma Treatment Plan Can Be Difficult
Finding the proper treatment and management plan for adult asthma can be difficult. When discussing options with a physician, keep in mind other prescription medication being taken for current medical conditions. It is also pertinent to keep in mind asthma treatment is mainly dispensed via an apparatus. For seniors with arthritis or seniors whose dexterity is impaired, it may be more difficult to physically administer treatment to themselves. Be aware assistance with asthma medication is possible.