Asthma and Aging

Many older adults have asthma, a disease of the lung airways. Some develop it late in life, for others it may be a continuing problem from youth. The cause is not known. Asthma in older adults presents some special concerns. For example the normal effects of aging can make asthma harder to diagnose and treat. Also, older adults are more likely than younger people to have side effects from asthma medication. The allergist and the patient must work together to keep the asthma under control. 

When you speak with your allergist explain what you want to be able to do and what you cannot do now because of your asthma. Also, talk about your concerns about your asthma, your medication, and your general health. If you are taking an inhaled medication be sure that you are using it correctly. Use an aerochamber for better delivery of the inhaler medication. Have your allergist check that you are doing it right. Ask your allergist for a written treatment plan that will tell you when to take each of your asthma medication and how much to take. 

Most asthma attacks start slowly. You can learn to tell when one is coming if you keep track of the symptoms you have, how bad they are, and when you have them. Your allergist may want you to use a "peak flow meter" which is a small plastic tool that you blow into that measures how well you are breathing. If you respond quickly to the first signs that your asthma is getting worse, you can prevent serious asthma attacks.

Stay away from things that make your asthma worse. Tobacco smoke and other things that you breathe in such as pollen can make asthma worse. Get a flu shot and the pneumonia vaccine to prevent pneumonia. 

See your allergist regularly to keep your asthma under control. These regular visits will let your doctor check your progress and if needed, change your treatment plan. New medications are always becoming available and may be a better choice than your current medication.

If you have any further questions please contact our hotline:

Ellen Epstein, M.D.
Advanced Allergy and Asthma, PLLC.
Adult and Pediatric Allergy
165 N. Village Ave.-Suite 141
Rockville Centre, NY 11570

Dr. Epstein is a Board Certified Allergist affiliated with Long Island Jewish Medical Center, South Nassau Communities Hospital and Franklin Hospital Medical Center


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