When asked to picture someone with asthma, most people would probably think of a child or a nerdy character from television.
Most are unlikely to imagine an older adult wheezing and using an inhaler. However, people of any age can develop asthma, even your elderly family member. Knowing more about asthma and its symptoms could help you to spot it in your aging relative.
Asthma causes the airways in a person’s lungs to swell, get narrower, and produce excess mucus. When that happens, breathing is difficult, and the older adult may cough or wheeze. The severity of asthma can vary from mild symptoms that are simply bothersome to serious ones that make daily living hard and could even lead to death.
What exactly causes asthma is still a mystery to doctors, but they believe it is a combination of a person’s genetics and the environment. Most people have things that trigger an asthma attack, though they differ from one person to the next.
Some common asthma triggers are:
- Dust mites.
- Mold Spores.
- Pet Dander.
- Respiratory infections.
- Cold air.
- Smoke and other air pollutants.
There is no cure for asthma, but there are treatments that can control the symptoms and help to prevent severe attacks.
Asthma in older adults can be more difficult to diagnose than in younger people. Often doctors mistake it for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In addition, other common conditions that seniors experience are similar to those caused by other illnesses, like heart disease or chronic bronchitis. Older adults are less likely than young adults to experience periods of remission when symptoms don’t appear. They are also at a greater risk for respiratory failure and disability due to the disease.
The symptoms of asthma in seniors are the same as those experienced by younger people.
- Being short of breath.
- Pain or tightness in the chest.
- Difficulty sleeping because of respiratory symptoms.
- Coughing or wheezing that is made worse by respiratory infections.
How Elderly Care Can Help with Asthma Management
Elderly care can be an important part of managing asthma symptoms in your aging relative. An elderly care provider can help the senior to avoid asthma triggers like people who are smoking. If dust or mold spores trigger asthma for your loved one, an elderly care provider can help to keep them out of the home by assisting with cleaning. Elderly care providers can also remind older adults to use the medications prescribed by the doctor to keep symptoms under control.
The staff at Home Care Matters is available to talk with you and your family about all of your needs. Home Care Matters is a home care agency providing quality and affordable Home Care Services in Cumming, GA, and the surrounding areas. Call (678) 828-2195 for more information.
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