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Asthma in the Elderly

Author(s): Domenico Lorenzo Urso

Journal: Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
ISSN 1687-7063

Volume: 2009;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Bronchial asthma is a common problem with enormous medical and economics impacts. It is an inflammatory disease of the airways associated with intermittent episodes of bronchospasm. Asthma is not uncommon in the elderly patients. Prevalence of asthma is similar in older and younger adults. Asthma in the elderly patient is underdiagnosed because of false perceptions by both patient and physician. The high incidence of comorbid conditions in the elderly patient makes the diagnosis and management more difficult. Correct diagnosis is demonstrated with spirometry. The goals of asthma treatment are to achieve and maintain control of symptoms and to prevent development of irreversible airflow limitation. Asthma drugs are preferably inhaled because this route minimizes systemic absorption and, thus, improves the ratio of the therapeutic benefit to the potential side-effects in elderly patients.
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