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.
Diagnosing Asthma In A Young Child Can Be More Challenging Because:
- Children under six years of age are not generally able to do a lung function test
- Symptoms such as cough and wheeze are fairly common in very young children who do not have asthma
However, a diagnosis of asthma can be made in a young child. Your health-care provider will assess:
- What symptoms does the child have?
- When do the symptoms occur ?
- Is there a history of allergies or asthma in the family?
- Does the child have any signs of allergies
- Do the symptoms improve when taking asthma medications?
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Medications are usually needed for asthma, even if its mild asthma. New asthma medications are continually being discovered and there are several effective asthma drugs in the market that help get asthma under control.
There are two types of asthma medications: controllers and relievers.
What Causes An Asthma Flare
Things that can cause you to have an asthma flare-up are called “triggers.” Different kids have different triggers. Common triggers include:
- breathing in things that cause allergies , such as dust, pollen, dander from animals, and mold
- breathing in things that irritate your airways, like cigarette smoke, perfume, and chalk dust
- infections, like a cold or the flu
- breathing in cold air
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What Causes Adults To Develop Asthma
At least 30% of adult asthma cases are triggered by allergies. People who are allergic to cats may have an increased risk for developing adult onset asthma. Exposure to allergens or irritants such as cigarette smoke, chemicals, mold, dust, or other substances commonly found in the persons environment might trigger the first asthma symptoms in an adult.
Prolonged exposure to certain workplace materials may set off asthma symptoms in adults.
Hormonal fluctuations in women may play a role in adult onset asthma. Some women first develop asthma symptoms during or after a pregnancy. Women going through menopause can develop asthma symptoms for the first time.
Different illnesses, viruses, or infections can be a factor in adult onset asthma. A bad cold or a bout with the flu is often a factor in adult onset asthma.
Smoking does not cause adult onset asthma; however, if you smoke or if you are exposed to cigarette smoke , it may provoke asthma symptoms.
What Causes An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack can happen when you are exposed to asthma triggers. Your asthma triggers can be very different from someone elses asthma triggers. Know your triggers and learn how to avoid them. Watch out for an attack when you cant avoid your triggers. Some of the most common triggers are tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, cockroach allergen, pets, mold, smoke from burning wood or grass, and infections like flu.
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How Do Healthcare Providers Diagnose Exercise
Your provider will ask about your symptoms, including when you have them and how long they last. After listening to your lungs, your provider will ask you to perform an activity that usually triggers your symptoms . Then your provider will measure your lung function with a spirometry test.
During spirometry, you exhale as much air as you can as fast as possible. You breathe into a tube attached to a machine called a spirometer. The machine measures how well your lungs work after exercise.
Personal Asthma Action Plan
As part of your initial assessment, you should be encouraged to draw up a personal asthma action plan with your GP or asthma nurse.
If you’ve been admitted to hospital because of an asthma attack, you should be offered an action plan before you go home.
The action plan should include information about your asthma medicines, and will help you recognise when your symptoms are getting worse and what steps to take. You should also be given information about what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Your personal asthma action plan should be reviewed with your GP or asthma nurse at least once a year, or more frequently if your symptoms are severe.
As part of your asthma plan, you may be given a peak flow meter. This will give you another way of monitoring your asthma, rather than relying only on symptoms, so you can recognise deterioration earlier and take appropriate steps.
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Who Can Get Asthma
Anyone can develop asthma at any age. People with allergies or people exposed to tobacco smoke and secondhand smoke are more likely to develop asthma.
Statistics show women tend to have asthma more than men, and asthma affects Black Americans more frequently than other races.
When a child develops asthma, healthcare providers call it childhood asthma. If it develops later in life, its adult-onset asthma.
Children do not outgrow asthma. They may have fewer symptoms as they get older, but they could still have an asthma attack. Your childs healthcare provider can help you understand the risks.
How Asthma Is Treated
While there is no cure for asthma, there are a number of treatments that can help control the condition.
Treatment is based on two important goals, which are:
- relieving symptoms;
- preventing future symptoms and attacks
For most people, this will involve the occasional or, more commonly, daily use of medications, usually taken using an inhaler. However, identifying and avoiding possible triggers is also important.
You should have a personal asthma action plan agreed with your doctor or nurse that includes information about the medicines you need to take, how to recognise when your symptoms are getting worse, and what steps to take when they do so.
These symptoms are often worse at night and early in the morning, particularly if the condition is not well controlled. They may also develop or become worse in response to a certain trigger, such as exercise or exposure to an allergen.
Read our page on the;causes of asthma for more information about potential triggers.
Speak to your GP if you think you or your child may have asthma. You should also talk to your doctor or asthma nurse if you have been diagnosed with asthma and you are finding it difficult to control the symptoms.
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Q: Is Asthma More Dangerous For Adults
A: Yes. The;death rate for adult-onset asthma is substantially higher than the death rate for childhood asthma.
One reason may be that adults either ignore asthma symptoms or attribute them;to being overweight, being out of shape or getting older.
Asthma symptoms can also mimic those of other illnesses, including:
What Should I Do If I Think I Have Asthma
If you think that you have asthma, the best thing you can do is see your healthcare provider as soon as possible for proper testing and diagnosis. Many people normalize their symptoms, without ever realizing that a symptom-free life could be possible. Its crucial to never ignore or downplay your asthma symptoms, you never know when something could trigger a potentially fatal asthma attack.
The sooner that you get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, the sooner you can take control of your asthma and live life to the fullest.
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What Is Airway Inflammation
Inflammation is the root of the problem in asthma.3 Even when you are not experiencing asthma symptoms, your airways can still be inflamed.6 Inflammation leads to:3
- Airway sensitivity
- Limited airflow
Inflammation makes the airways very sensitive to allergens, mold, chemicals, cold air, and viruses.4 The airways react to these triggers by becoming narrow, which makes it difficult for you to breathe out.3
Inflammation, sensitivity, and obstruction can interact in different ways, meaning that everyones asthma is a little different.3 A person with asthma can have some or all of the typical symptoms. Asthma can be mild, moderate, or severe. Certain medications work better for some people than others.
How Can You Tell If You Have Asthma
It can be hard to tell if someone has asthma, especially in children under age 5. Having a doctor check how well your lungs work and check for allergies can help you find out if you have asthma.
During a checkup, a doctor will ask if you cough a lot, especially at night. He or she will also ask whether your breathing problems are worse after physical activity or at certain times of year. The doctor will then ask about chest tightness, wheezing, and colds lasting more than 10 days. He or she will ask whether anyone in your family has or has had asthma, allergies, or other breathing problems. Finally, the doctor will ask questions about your home and whether you have missed school or work or have trouble doing certain things.
The doctor may also do a breathing test, called spirometry, to find out how well your lungs are working by testing how much air you can breathe out after taking a very deep breath before and after you use asthma medicine.
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How Is Airway Sensitivity Measured
It is possible to measure how sensitive your airways with a methacholine challenge.3 This test rules out conditions that mimic asthma, such as vocal cord dysfunction and other obstructive lung diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Finding out that you have sensitive airways helps to confirm the diagnosis of asthma.
Spacers For Asthma Medication
It is recommended that all people with asthma, regardless of age, use a spacer when taking medication via a metered-dose inhaler .
Spacers help to improve the delivery of asthma medication to the lungs and minimise side effects from medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about spacers and how they might help you manage your asthma.
;which demonstrate how to use a puffer and spacer.
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Can Asthma Be Cured
There is still much research that needs to be done to fully understand how to prevent, treat and cure asthma. Asthma Canadas National Research Program is committed to supporting leading asthma researchers and graduate student researchers working to expand our knowledge and one day, unlock a cure.;
What Are The Treatments For Asthma In Children
IIf your child has asthma, you will work with their health care provider to create a treatment plan. The plan will include ways to manage your childs asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks, such as
- Strategies to avoid triggers. For example, if tobacco smoke is a trigger for your child, you should not allow anyone to smoke in your home or car.
- Short-term relief medicines, also called quick-relief medicines. They help prevent symptoms or relieve symptoms during an asthma attack. They include an inhaler to have for your child at all times. It may also include other types of medicines which work quickly to help open your childs airways.
- Control medicines. They work by reducing airway inflammation and preventing narrowing of the airways. Not all children will take control medicines. Whether or not your child needs them depends on how severe the asthma is and how often your child has symptoms.
If your child has a severe attack and the short-term relief medicines do not work, get medical help right away.
Your child’s provider may adjust the treatment until the asthma symptoms are controlled.
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What Triggers An Asthma Attack
Numerous triggers can cause asthma attacks, including:
Tobacco smoke;While smoking is unhealthy for anyone, its particularly dangerous for people with asthma. If you smoke, you should quit.
Secondhand;smoke can also trigger an asthma attack. Avoid situations in which people around you smoke. Also don’t let people smoke in a place where you spend a lot of time, such as your home or car even if you’re not present when they smoke.
Smoke from wood or grass;Even though it may seem natural, smoke from these sources contains harmful gases and particles.
Avoid burning wood in your home. If you live in an area where wildfires occur, monitor air quality forecasts and try to stay inside when particle levels are at their worst.
Outdoor air pollution
Certain foods and food additives;While almost any food can cause an allergic reaction, a few additives are widely believed to cause adverse reactions in some people.
Acid reflux;can also trigger an asthma attack in some people, so any food that aggravates this condition may also be responsible for symptoms.
Strong emotional statesCertain medications
Asthma Peak Week: How To Exercise Safely With Asthma
The third week of September is known as Asthma Peak Week, the week with the highest numbers of asthma attacks and hospitalizations every year. Allergen levels are at their highest this week, particularly common allergens like ragweed pollen, dust, and mold, and this can make any activity difficult. You might be reluctant to work out, but regular exercise can improve asthma symptoms by increasing lung capacity and reducing inflammation. A well-considered exercise plan guided by a medical professional is vital to ensuring you can exercise safely with asthma, so read on to learn what to discuss with your doctor about creating an exercise plan for you!
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What Is The Treatment For Asthma
Asthma symptoms can be treated with a variety of prescription medications that provide quick relief as well as long term control. Lifestyle changes can also reduce symptoms, especially if asthma is triggered by allergies to substances in the environment or to certain foods . Regular vaccinations for influenza and pneumonia are strongly recommended for older adults with asthma.
Keep in mind . . . Short-term use of oral steroids are helpful to treat acute asthma symptoms, or flare ups; however, long-term use of oral steroids is usually avoided in older asthma patients. Over time, oral steroids can cause severe side effects, such as weakening of bones, ulcers, or high blood pressure.
People with asthma should develop a written asthma management plan with their physician. An asthma management plan outlines specific treatment and lifestyle practices, including what to do when asthma symptoms flare up or become out of control.
Older asthma patients should be sure to ask their physician about any aspect of their asthma treatment that they do not understand. Keeping the physician informed about how well treatment is working is important. Patients need to tell their physician if they are having trouble remembering to take their medications, or if they are having difficulty using devices such as an inhaler.
Why Do People Get Asthma
Research has yet to show a definitive cause of asthma. However, researchers have determined several risk factors that can lead to asthma development.
Family History and Genetics
Children of mothers with asthma are three times more likely to suffer from asthma, and 2.5 times more likely if the father has asthma. More than 30 genes have been linked to asthma so far, and gene-gene interactions, gene-environment interactions and epigenetic modifications also play a part. Genetic differences also play a role in differences in response to treatment.
People are more likely to have asthma if they have certain types of allergies, such ones which can affect the eyes and nose. However, not everyone who has allergies will get asthma and not everyone who has asthma is affected by allergies. Respiratory allergies and some types of asthma are related to an antibody called immunoglobulin E , which the immune system produces in response to allergens. To protect the body, the IgE causes allergic reactions that can affect the eyes, nose, throat, lungs and skin.
Children born before 37 weeks are at increased risk of developing asthma later in life.
Babies or small children may be at risk of developing asthma later in life if they had certain lung infections at a very early age.
Women can develop adult-onset asthma during or after menopause.
Environment Air Quality
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What Causes Asthma In Children
The exact cause of asthma is unknown. Genetics and environment likely play a role in which children get asthma.
An asthma attack can happen when your child is exposed to an asthma trigger. An asthma trigger is something that can set off or worsen asthma symptoms. Different triggers can cause different types of asthma:
- Allergic asthma is caused by allergens. Allergens are substances that cause an allergic reaction. They can include
- Dust mites
Asthma triggers may be different for each child and can change over time.