How Is Asthma Different In Older Adults
Most people with asthma experience their first symptoms at a young age. But asthma can develop for anyone at any age. It is not uncommon for adults in their 70s or 80s to develop asthma symptoms for the first time. When asthma does occur at a later age, the symptoms are much like those experienced by anyone else. The most common causes of an asthma flare up are a respiratory infection or virus, exercise, allergens, and air pollution . Allergens and irritants are substances found in our everyday environment. People who have asthma may experience wheezing, cough, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
Asthma creates a much greater risk for older adults because they are more likely to develop respiratory failure as a result of the asthma, even during mild episodes of symptoms.
Did you know . . . Older patients with mild asthma symptoms can have the same level of breathing difficulty as younger asthma patients experiencing a severe asthma episode?
Unlike asthma in younger persons, asthma in older adults rarely goes into remission. Instead, asthma is more likely to remain a potentially serious, and many times, a disabling disease.
What Types Of Treatments May Be Given For Uncontrolled Asthma Symptoms
When asthma is at its worst, you may have additional symptoms such as feeling anxious, having an increased heart rate and rapid breathing.
You may be given treatments such as oxygen therapy and bronchodilators. These are medicines that help you breathe easier and open up your airways. You may also be given steroids to help get the inflammation in your airways under control.
Why Strong Asthma Attacks Occur Early In The Morning
It is known that there are changes at night in the functioning of organs and systems that could contribute to the appearance of bronchospasms.
First of all, this phenomenon is due to the reduced production of hormones and also the type of nervous system of the individual. Typically, these changes can reach their maximum at 4 am to 6 am. There is such regularity: the worse a person feels during the day, the more pronounced will be the seizures of bronchial asthma in the early morning hours.
If preventative measures are ineffective and suffering from suffocation continues, keep calm, sit or get upright and use your inhaler. It is essential that at this point not to panic, do not take indiscriminately different medications, observe dosages and correct inhalation techniques, or otherwise, you will not achieve the desired result.
For patients suffering from frequent shortness of breath, it is advisable to leave a thermos with a hot drink at their bedside to drink some warm tea or water. If asthma attacks occur in the early morning hours and are repeated regularly, you should consult your doctor. Consider also that allergens may cause bronchial asthma attacks at night. In the presence of such allergens, seizures can occur late at night between 1 am, and 3 am.
Pooh and feathers contain alarge number of mites a major allergen in house dust. These ticks are not visible to the naked eye, but they are at places where dust is accumulated.
Read Also: Viral Induced Asthma
Don’t Miss: Why Does Pollen Cause Asthma
Q: How Well Does Treatment Work For Adults With Asthma
Asthma can be more difficult to control in adults for several reasons:
- Asthma medications can be less effective later in life, particularly for those who are obese.
- Oral steroids can worsen glaucoma, cataracts and osteoporosis.
- Being on beta-blockers for heart problems can increase the severity of asthma.
- The lungs and chest walls are stiffer and the muscles supporting deep breathing are weaker in adults.
For these reasons, adults with asthma are at increased risk for flare-ups and even hospitalization.
Video: Signs That Your Asthma Is Getting Worse
Transcript for Signs that your asthma is getting worse
0:00 Asthma attacks rarely happen out of the blue.
0:03 They often take a few days to build up.
0:07 Asthma is different for everybody.
0:10 By learning how to recognise when your asthma symptoms are getting worse,
0:14 itll help you to stay in control.
0:18 So, signs that your asthma is getting worse are variable.
0:23 The most common sort of signs are you may feel some wheezing,
0:26 you may have a cough, you may find a tightness in your chest.
0:32 If you keep a peak flow diary, you may find that your peak flow scores are reducing a bit.
0:38 You may also find that youre using your blue reliever inhaler more frequently than you usually would.
0:45 If your symptoms continue to be worse and youre using your blue inhaler a lot,
0:52 then please do call us on the helpline or contact us by email,
0:56 especially if youre not sure what to do next.
0:59 We can discuss whats been going on with you
1:01 and make a plan for a way forward.
1:05 If you are using your preventer inhaler as prescribed,
1:09 every day, even when youre well and using really good inhaler technique,
1:14 and despite this, your asthma symptoms are getting worse,
1:18 its a good idea to see your GP.
Adult action plan
Using an asthma action plan will help you to stay well. Download and fill in with your GP.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop An Asthma Cough At Night
What Causes Asthma Symptoms To Flare Up
Your asthma can flare up for different reasons. If you’re allergic to dust mites, pollens or molds, they can make your asthma symptoms get worse. Cold air, exercise, fumes from chemicals or perfume, tobacco or wood smoke, and weather changes can also make asthma symptoms worse. So can common colds and sinus infections. Gastroesophageal reflux can also cause flare-ups. You can help yourself by paying attention to the way these things affect your asthma. Your doctor might test you to find out if you’re allergic to something. Then your doctor can help you avoid the things that bother your asthma.
Too Little Sleep Can Mean More Asthma Attacks In Adults
May 11, 2020
First study examining adults with asthma shows negative impacts of sleep deprivation.
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. A good nights sleep is crucial to good health. A new article in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reveals that too little sleep, and occasionally too much sleep, can negatively impact adults with asthma.
Previous research revealed that poor sleep quality has a negative effect on asthma symptoms in adolescents, says Faith Luyster, PhD, lead author of the study. Our study shows that adults with asthma are equally affected by too little sleep. Compared to normal sleepers, short and long sleepers had a higher proportion of people who reported having an asthma attack in the past year and had more days with impaired health-related quality of life. Impaired quality of life was characterized by more days of poor physical and mental health.
The study surveyed 1,389 adults who were 20 years and older who self-identified as having asthma. Of the group, 25.9 percent slept 5 hours or less, 65.9 percent slept 6-8 hours and 8.2 percent slept 9 or more hours. Sleep duration was measured by a single question, How much sleep do you usually get at night on weekdays or workdays? Short sleepers were more likely to be younger and non-White, while long sleepers were more likely to be older, female and a smoker.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Asthma Attack
Dont Shove Your Asthma Action Plan In A Drawer
Your asthma triggers are unique to you thats why everyperson diagnosed with mild-to-severe persistent asthma should have an asthmaaction plan. Dont have one? Then stop right now and message your provider torequest one.
If you do, make sure to keep it handy. Most problems occur whenyou dont follow your plan, Dr. Latifi explains. Your plan outlines all thedos and donts, so its easy to stay one step ahead of an attack.
The plan is all about maintaining your peak flow rate, whichmeasures how fast air moves out of your lungs, he says. To get this number:
Dont wait until you feel symptoms to take a measurement,Dr. Latifi says. Be proactive and stay on top of your peak flow to helpprevent flare-ups from happening in the first place.
Side Effects Of Steroid Tablets
Oral steroids carry a risk if they are taken for more than three months or if they are taken frequently . Side effects can include:
- muscle weakness
With the exception of increased appetite, which is very commonly experienced by people taking oral steroids, most of these unwanted effects are uncommon.
However, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for them regularly, especially side effects that are not immediately obvious, such as high blood pressure, thinning of the bones, diabetes and glaucoma.
You will need regular appointments to check for these.
Read further information:
Read Also: What Causes Asthma In Adults
Ask Yourself 3 Simple Questions
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have Work-Related Asthma.
Also Check: Is Olbas Oil Safe For Asthma
If Your Asthma Symptoms Are Caused By Allergies Take Steps To Control Knownor Potential Triggers In Your Environment
Allergy-proof your house for dust, mold, cockroaches, and other common indoor allergens to which you are allergic.
Reduce your outdoor activities when the pollen count or ozone level is high.
Choose foods that dont contribute to your asthma or allergy symptoms.
Evaluate your workplace for possible allergens and take the necessary steps to reduce your exposure to them.
In order to determine relevant triggers, you may want to seek consultation with an allergist who can further define these triggers.
In addition, anyone with asthma should consider getting an annual flu shot. Older adults also should talk with their internist about getting a pneumonia vaccination.
You May Like: Treatment Of Mild Persistent Asthma
How Do I Control My Asthma
Simply put, the goals of successful asthma treatment mean your asthma is well controlled. So, how do you actually control your asthma?
Cheyannes Story Mums First Time Experience With Life
Cheyanne tells her story of the near-death experience by asthma of her daughter Ngamihi.
Cheyanne McConnell from Hamilton has two beautiful daughters. Her oldest is Ngamihi Lyndon, who has asthma, and Anahera Lyndon is the younger of the two. Cheyanne is deaf, therefore uses sign language, and Ngamihi helps her as a sign language interpreter. Cheyanne describes Ngamihi as really lovely and very amazing for doing this. She says both her daughters are really sweet girls.
Unfortunately, in early 2015, Cheyanne and her family had a frightening experience with asthma. Ngamihi was in a serious condition and needed to be taken to the hospital. Cheyanne explains, It was very hard for my daughter Ngamihi, she nearly died. I took her straight to the hospital. Im very lucky. I feel shocked that Ngamihi had asthma.
The whole experience was incredibly emotional and traumatising. Ngamihi in hospital made us all cry, she nearly died. She had fallen down, she was wheezing and upset crying. She had a hard cough and dry throat, says Cheyanne. This was Cheyannes first time in dealing with asthma, as she had never experienced it before and didnt know anything about the condition. To learn more about asthma, Cheyanne got in contact with Asthma Waikato to book an appointment for one-on-one asthma education. Cheyanne says, I need to learn more about asthma for my daughter Ngamihi. Its very important.
Recommended Reading: What Can Cause Asthma Attacks
Recommended Reading: What Does Asthma Feel Like In Throat
What’s An Asthma Flare
An asthma flare-up is when asthma symptoms get worse, making someone wheeze, cough, or be short of breath. An asthma flare-up can happen even when asthma is controlled.
Asthma flare-ups are also called asthma attacks or exacerbations.
How Can I Help My Child Live With Asthma
You can help manage your childs asthma by:
- Finding out your childs triggers and keeping him or her away from them.
- Giving your child medicine as directed to prevent symptoms.
- Creating and keeping an Asthma Action Plan.
- Closely watching asthma signs and symptoms to know when they are getting worse.
- Knowing what to do when asthma gets worse.
- Making sure your child has proper emergency medication and paperwork on file with his or her school.
Work with your childs health care provider to find the best way to take care of your childs asthma. There are guidelines for children from newborn to age 4, ages 5 to 11, and ages 12 and older.
The more information a person with asthma has, the better the asthma can be controlled.
Also Check: Best Allergy Medicine For Seasonal Asthma
Sleep On Your Left Side With A Pillow Between Your Legs
Many people are side sleepers. If thats you, sleeping on your left side specifically can help keep your airways open. And the addition of a pillow between your legs stabilizes your spine and may help keep you in better sleep posture.
Sleeping on your left side is especially helpful for people who suffer from both asthma and heartburn, as heartburn can trigger asthma symptoms. Left-side sleeping takes advantage of gravity, the shape of the stomach, and the angle of the connection between the esophagus and the stomach to reduce acid reflux.
What You Can Do
These steps can help you make the most of your appointment:
- Write down any symptoms youre having, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Note when your symptoms bother you most. For example, write down if your symptoms tend to get worse at certain times of the day, during certain seasons, or when youre exposed to cold air, pollen or other triggers.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that youre taking.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to recall all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For asthma, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
In addition to the questions that youve prepared to ask your doctor, dont hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Best Treatment For Asthma
Complications Of Asthma And Covid
When any type of respiratory virus is present within the local community, people with asthma should take precautions. Respiratory viruses can trigger and worsen asthma symptoms, potentially affecting your nose, throat, and lungs.
In severe cases, there is also a risk that COVID-19 could cause an asthma attack, lead to pneumonia, or lead to acute respiratory disease. Asthma is not considered to increase your risk of catching the virus, having worse symptoms, or prolonging recovery from COVID-19.
However, children with some underlying medical conditions are more at risk of severe illness than those without. Still, the evidence on which underlying medical conditions are associated with increased risk in children is limited.
Symptoms of asthma and COVID-19 can be similar, making it difficult to differentiate between the conditions. However, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America advises that:
- Coughing is a symptom commonly seen in both conditions.
- Other common asthma symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and rapid breathing may sometimes be seen in COVID-19.
- Fever is often present with COVID-19 but rarely associated with asthma.
- Weakness and fatigue can sometimes be associated with both conditions.
- Loss of smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, body aches, headaches, and a sore throat are sometimes seen in COVID-19 but not associated with asthma.