Managing Your Asthma Well In Later Life
Continue to have regular asthma reviews
Whether youve had asthma all your life or youve been diagnosed with it as an older adult, an asthma review helps you stay on top of any changes in your symptoms.
You can make sure your asthma action plan is up to date, review your asthma medicines, and check youre taking the lowest dose possible to stay well and avoid side effects.
Track your symptoms
Keeping track of your symptoms makes it easier to spot any changes. Write down your symptoms in a diary, notebook, or on your phone and take it along to your next appointment.
Remember to make a note of anything you were doing that day or any triggers you came across – you may notice youre sensitive to new things that were not a problem before.
Dont ignore symptoms like breathlessness, says Dr Andy. Its easy to think that feeling a bit more breathless is just another sign that youre not as fit as you used to be.
But if youre feeling out of breath climbing stairs or walking uphill, see your GP to get it checked out. Breathlessness can be a sign that your asthma is not well controlled. It could also be a sign of another health condition.
Act quickly if symptoms get worse
To cut your risk of an asthma attack, take action as soon as you notice symptoms getting worse. As we get older, asthma attacks can be more severe and take longer to recover from.
Check your inhaler technique
Ask about side effects
Get help for other conditions too
Find out more about other conditions.
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
You can develop asthma at any time in your life. Its possible not to have asthma as a child and develop it later as an adult. Its also possible to have long periods where asthma is inactive, and then have symptoms return later in life.
Other Ways To Stay Well In Later Life
Studies have shown that people who keep exercising have more chance of staying healthy as they get older.
Even if your mobility isnt as good as it was or you find you get tired easily, there will be an activity you can do.
Keep to a healthy weight
Keeping to a healthy weight can lower your risk of asthma symptoms. Studies show that if youre very overweight, even losing a bit of weight, can make a difference to your asthma.
It can feel harder to shift the weight as you get older, particularly if youre less active than you were. Find out what support you can get.
If you smoke, youre more at risk from asthma symptoms and attacks, as well as COPD.
Giving up smoking not only lowers your risk, but it also means your medicines will be more effective.
Look after your mental health
If youre worried, down, or lonely, talk to someone about how you feel. Age UK has an Advice Line: 0800 169 2081.
Stress, anxiety and depression can all trigger asthma symptoms.
We all need a support network of friends, family and neighbours, says Dr Andy. Share your asthma action plan, so that anyone caring for you knows what to do if symptoms get worse and who to call for help. And tell your GP or asthma nurse how youre feeling too.
You can talk to a respiratory nurse specialist on our Helpline: 0300 222 5800 . Or you can WhatsApp them on 07378 606 728
Next review due December 2023
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Pulmonary Structure And Function
Additional data suggest that advanced age, irrespective of any concomitant pulmonary disease, is associated with increased bronchial hyperresponsiveness., In a study of 148 subjects, ranging from age 5 to 76 years, age had an independent association with bronchial hyperresponsiveness as measured by a methacholine challenge. In another study, bronchial hyperresponsiveness to histamine challenge was associated with increased eosinophil count and allergic sensitization however, older age maintained an independent association with bronchial hyperresponsiveness, which was more prominent in subjects with respiratory symptoms. In addition to age, it is recognized that smoking and the baseline forced expiratory volume in 1 second have strong effects on bronchial hyperresponsiveness., Furthermore, aging is associated with a progressive decline in lung function. Coupled with these findings, breathing is exaggerated through increased air trapping and a reduction in chest wall compliance with increased age. Actually, it is reported that bronchodilators, such as long-acting beta2 agonist , have an add-on effect to inhaled corticosteroid .
What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Adult Onset Asthma
Regardless of age, asthma symptoms can include:
Dry cough, especially at night or in response to specific triggers
Tightness or pressure in the chest
Wheezing a whistling sound when exhaling
Shortness of breath after exercise or physical exertion
Colds that go to the chest or hang on for 10 days or more
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How To Treat Adult
Asthma can be serious or even life-threatening, so its important to regularly see a doctor for treatment. Our team of pulmonary specialists may prescribe inhalers or injectable steroid medications to provide you with relief from asthma attacks. Dr. Kellar and Dr. Gundavaram may also choose to prescribe additional maintenance medications that can proactively prevent asthma attacks.
In addition to medication, you can manage your asthma symptoms by following these tips:
- Manage your risk factors. Allergy-proof your home from dust, mold, and roaches. Install a high-quality air filter.
- Dont go outside on days that the air quality is poor, if possible.
- Check your lung health daily at home using a peak flow meter. Ask your doctor if you need help obtaining or using this device.
- Maintain regular contact with your doctor, and follow his or her instructions. Always inform your doctor immediately if your symptoms worsen or change.
If you are seeking relief from adult-onset asthma or feel like you may have this condition, reach out to our team today by calling or using our online scheduling tool to book an appointment.
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The Differences Between Childhood And Adult
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute , asthma affects more than 25 million people in the United States, or about 8 percent of the population. Seven million of them are children.
Asthma is common in childhood, but you can develop it at any point in your life. Its not uncommon for people over the age of 50 to be diagnosed with this lung disorder.
Childhood asthma and adult-onset asthma have the same symptoms, and both have similar treatments. However, children with asthma face different challenges.
Many cases of adult-onset asthma are triggered by allergies. Allergens are substances that can cause an immune reaction in people who are sensitive to them.
Children with allergies may not experience asthma from exposure to allergens when they are younger. Yet over time, their bodies can change and react differently. This can lead to adult-onset asthma.
According to the American Lung Association, of the estimated 7 million children in the United States with asthma, more than 4 million experience an asthma attack each year. Asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalizations of American children age 15 and younger. Fortunately, asthma-related deaths in children are quite rare.
- difficulty sleeping
- delayed recovery from a respiratory infection, such as a flu or cold
If you suspect your childs symptoms are the result of asthma, make an appointment with their doctor. Untreated childhood asthma may have lasting impacts.
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How To Reduce Your Risk Of Complications
In general, working with your doctor can help you find the appropriate treatment to control your asthma symptoms and reduce your risk for these complications. And once you find a treatment that works for you, its important to stick with it.
Most people with asthma know the importance of staying on prescribed treatment, Rosenstreich says. Because if they dont, they know theyll see an increase in their symptoms. But your doctor will remind you that symptoms are only the start. These complications are, in most cases, rare and totally avoidable simply by staying with your treatment.
If you have trouble controlling your symptoms despite following your treatment plan, you may have a more severe form of asthma. Let your doctor know about your struggles so he or she can help find a more appropriate treatment.
With additional reporting by Markham Heid.
Getting The Diagnosis Correct
One man in his 60s ended up going to Wechslers Cohen Family Asthma Institute at NJH after seeing two physicians who had incorrectly diagnosed him with COPD.
The man had been coughing and wheezing, and became short of breath, Wechsler said. The doctors gave him a rescue inhaler, but they did not treat him for ongoing airway inflammation.
When the man failed to improve, he went to NJH, underwent a series of sophisticated tests, and was correctly diagnosed with asthma.
To define if a patient has asthma, we do a pulmonary test, spirometry, to determine if there is any airflow obstruction consistent with asthma, and then assess the degree of reversibility, Wechsler said. If we see asthmatic symptoms plus airflow reversibility, we can assess the degree of hyper responsiveness. Imaging by CAT scans helps us look for other components. The patient may have sinus disease, reflux, post-nasal drip, or aspiration.
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How Long Asthma Lasts For
Asthma is a long-term condition for many people, particularly if it first develops when you’re an adult.
In children, it sometimes goes away or improves during the teenage years, but can come back later in life.
The symptoms can usually be controlled with treatment. Most people will have normal, active lives, although some people with more severe asthma may have ongoing problems.
Create An Asthma Action Plan
Both adults and children need to create an asthma action plan to outline what type of medicine they should take and when. It will also provide details for what to do when a persons asthma is dangerously out of control. These instructions will help you, your child, friends and relatives know when its time to change treatments or seek emergency care.
To make this plan, discuss your treatment options with your doctor. Plan what you should do in the event of an asthma flare-up. Define at what point you need to increase treatment measures to prevent or reduce an attack.
List what triggers can be avoided and the best ways to avoid them. Share this plan with friends, relatives, and any caregivers your children may have. Together, you will be able to successfully treat your or your childs asthma and avoid future complications.
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Why Is Adult Onset
Adult onset-asthma symptoms are often blamed on other chronic health issues more common in adults, such as:
- Heart failure
- Stomach problems and conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Physical deconditioning caused by inactivity, excess weight, or the effects of aging
- Hiatal hernia
The delay in an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment often leads to worsening lung function that makes adult-onset asthma more difficult to treat from the start.
Unfortunately, many of the medications used to treat asthma can interfere with the drugs used for coexisting, adult-type conditions such as heart failure, hypertension, and many others. This makes it more difficult to design an effective treatment strategy for adults with asthma.
Also, the muscles in your chest wall become weaker and lungs lose elasticity as you age, which can increase the problems associated with asthma and decrease the effectiveness of treatment in adults. This makes it doubly important that your asthma treatment plan is tailored to fit your circumstance.
For an effective, customized treatment plan thats designed to address the effects of adult-onset asthma, schedule an evaluation at Tristate Pulmonary Medical Practice today. Call our office or book your visit online.
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Why Is Asthma Difficult To Diagnose In Older Adults
A diagnosis of asthma may be missed in an older person because symptoms of other health conditions are similar to asthma symptoms and may mask the specific symptoms. Asthma symptoms among older adults are more likely to take the form of coughing with the production of sputum from the lungs. Your physician might interpret those symptoms as being due to other illnesses, such as chronic bronchitis or congestive heart failure. In particular, heart disease and emphysema, much more common in older adults, especially smokers, can mimic asthma symptoms.
Good to know . . . One of the ways in which asthma is recognized among younger people is by the symptoms of wheezing and difficulty breathing following exercise. When older adults become inactive, the opportunity for asthma to present itself lessens. If you experience asthma symptoms wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, chronic cough with your regular activities such as housework, shopping, gardening, or walking, be sure to talk with your physician as soon as possible.
When the asthma symptoms are not recognized correctly, they may remain untreated, likely worsening and creating very serious health risks.
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Asthma Uk Is Here To Support You
We have expert advice on how to manage your asthma well and what to do if you have an asthma attack.
We also have lots of tips on living with asthma, from doing sports and going on holiday, to studying with asthma and having relationships.
Explore our health advice web pages and . The more you know about your asthma, the better youll be able to work with your GP or asthma nurse to manage it well.
Speak to someone about your asthma
You can also call our Helpline on 00 222 5800 to speak to a respiratory nurse specialist. Or you can WhatsApp them on 0307378 606 728.
You can ask them anything from symptoms and treatments to living life without asthma getting in the way.
Next review due February 2024
Aspirin And Paracetamol Intake
Among individuals with existing asthma, aspirin can acutely precipitate bronchospasm in the subset of patients with aspirin-intolerant asthma. In contrast, long-term intake of 100 mg aspirin has been shown to reduce the relative risk of a newly reported diagnosis of asthma in healthy females . Thus, in individuals without asthma, aspirin might reduce the risk of developing asthma via cyclo-oxygenase -dependent and COX-independent pathways.
On the contrary, the use of paracetamol represents a putative risk factor for the development of asthma . Glutathione depletion in the airways and increased oxidative stress may be the mechanism underlying the link between paracetamol use and asthma development.
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Can You Develop Asthma Later In Life
Many people associate asthma with childhood, and it does affect millions of children in the United States. However, its also commonly diagnosed in adults who may confuse symptoms like shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or a persistent cough during exercise with other conditions such as heart disease or the effects of aging.
Dr. Benjamin A. Laracuente is a top-rated pulmonologist who leads our team here at Tristate Pulmonary Medical Practice in Monaca, Pennsylvania, providing services to surrounding Beaver County. Greatly appreciated for his medical skills and dedication to patient-focused care, Dr. Laracuente specializes in diagnosing and treating lung disorders like adult-onset asthma.
Hes happy to answer a few questions about adult-onset asthma and how its treated.
Asthma Symptoms In Adults
Shortness of breath that occurs when you are performing a simple exercise such as walking to the mailbox or climbing the stairs: If its an everyday occurrence, the symptom is known as dyspnea on exertion. It shouldnt be confused with shortness of breath following an illness or strenuous exercise.
A persistent cough from asthma is a dry cough that occurs in response to asthma triggers such as a cold, allergies or smoke. The cough is more likely to happen at night. Chest tightness and cold symptoms that hang in the chest for an extended period of time are also sometimes symptoms of asthma.
Wheezing or a whistling sound when you exhale is another asthma symptom. Having difficulty breathing is a common complaint from many asthma patients.
Factors that affect adult-onset asthma include:
- Exposure to environmental elements either at work or home that cause allergy-like symptoms
- Medical history of allergies
- Living now or in the past in a smoking household
- Family history of asthma
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What Is The Best Way To Live With Asthma
The key to good living with asthma is developing a strong partnership between patients, caregivers, and physicians. Practical steps include the following:
Make an asthma care management plan with your physician. An asthma management plan helps you understand what to do when specific situations arise. Each time you visit the physician, talk about your plan, and make any necessary changes.
Educate yourself. Stay informed about the latest developments in asthma and allergy care and treatment. Ask your physician about new medications or research findings that may relate to your care.
Get regular medical care. If you have asthma, you should see your physician at least once a year, even if your symptoms are under control. When you become sick, or if you have significant changes in your health, you should also talk with your physician about how your asthma could be affected.
Take your medicine. Your asthma medications will make you feel better and sometimes people think thats the time to stop. Its not! Use your medications as prescribed.
With good management, asthma symptoms can be controlled. Most people who develop adult onset asthma are able to lead normal lives. Expect success!
How Is Asthma Different When Youre Older
You may notice new challenges with your asthma as you get older. For example:
- Symptoms may feel harder to control
- It can take longer to recover from an asthma attack or get over colds and flu
- Side effects from asthma medicines can be more noticeable
- Other conditions alongside asthma are more common.
Some of these challenges are to do with natural ageing. As we get older, our lungs are less strong, and our immune system can take longer to fight off infection.
The good news is, there are plenty of ways to manage these changes, with your GPs support, says Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UKs in-house GP. And positive things you can do to keep your body and mind healthy in later life.
Diagnosed with asthma later in life?
Asthma diagnosed later in life is known as late-onset asthma. This kind of asthma is more common in women, often starting around the menopause.
Symptoms sometimes start after a viral infection. Some people may have needed steroid tablets or an inhaler for chest symptoms a while before they were given a diagnosis, says Dr Andy.
Late-onset asthma is often harder to control with the usual asthma medicines. Your GP will need to consider add on treatments, like LTRAs , or long acting bronchodilators, for extra support.
Its not uncommon for late-onset asthma to go undiagnosed or to be misdiagnosed as another condition, like a chest infection or heart disease, says Dr Andy.
Childhood asthma come back?
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