Asthma is a common health concern for people over the age of 65. For some patients, it’s the first time they’ve ever experienced asthma. For others, it’s a reprisal of childhood symptoms. In any case, asthma can cause serious health complications for senior citizens. Let’s examine living with asthma in old age.
The Problem with Asthma in Old Age
Asthma is relatively easy to diagnose in active children and adults. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to diagnose in older adults who have had to slow down a bit for their health.
One of the easiest ways to distinguish asthma from other respiratory illnesses is the presence of wheezing. Wheezing typically occurs when the respiratory system is under additional strain, either from exercise or the presence of an allergen.
Living with Asthma in Old Age
Senior citizens that don’t or can’t exercise to that extent are unlikely to experience wheezing. Without the presence of asthma’s most recognizable symptom, asthma is often overlooked or misdiagnosed in older patients.
Diagnosing Asthma in Patients Over 65
Asthma can easily be misdiagnosed in older adults. Most commonly, well-meaning doctors are likely to confuse it with chronic bronchitis or congestive heart failure. That is because coughing with the production of sputum is the most common way asthma manifests in older adults. Unfortunately, it’s a tell-tale sign of both previously mentioned conditions as well.
Given what we know about the risk of misdiagnosis, older patients with persistent respiratory symptoms should consider meeting with their local asthma doctor in Brooklyn. Dr. Shukla is a pulmonologist, and he can help to clarify your diagnosis in conjunction with your regular doctor.
If it turns out that asthma is contributing to your health concerns, then Dr. Shukla will work with you to create a treatment plan to improve your quality of life.
Treating Asthma in Patients Over 65
Treating asthma isn’t always easy with older patients. There are many common complications that can make it difficult to find the most effective treatment plan. Being aware of what complications you may face can help to simplify the matter.
It is common for people over the age of 65 to be on several medications to help manage various health conditions. Unfortunately, there may be certain asthma medications that you are unable to take if there is likely to be a conflict with one of your other medications. This complication can usually prove resolved with a little juggling to find the most suitable combination of meds.
Although it isn’t true for everyone, some loss of mental faculties is a common side effect of old age. You may have moments where you lack clarity, or you may be dealing with a much more serious disease like Alzheimer’s. In any case, loss of mental clarity can make it difficult to stay on a predictable treatment course, so you may require help.
Lack of Coordination
Although asthma medications can come in different forms, the most common is an L-shaped inhaler. These medical devices require fine motor skills to ensure that the appropriate dose is given. For senior citizens who struggle with shaking or grasping small objects, these inhalers may not be a viable option.
Finding What Works
Ultimately, your asthma doctor in NYC will work with you to find the best combination of medications and delivery systems that suit your needs. For patients with more serious asthma, this may include nebulizer treatments that deliver misted asthma medication through a mask.
With a little persistence, you will eventually find treatments that help you to breathe a little easier and get more out of every day. If that sounds like it’s worth your time, then contact Dr. Shukla today.