Asthma in the elderly

Asia Pac Allergy. 2012 Apr;2(2):101-8. doi: 10.5415/apallergy.2012.2.2.101. Epub 2012 Apr 30.


As the population increases in age, the diseases of older age will have increasing prevalence and place a greater burden on the health system. Despite asthma being usually considered a disease of younger people, asthma mortality is currently greatest in the over 55 age-group. Symptoms and emergency presentations for health care due to asthma place a great burden on the quality of life of those over age 55 with asthma. Asthma in older people is under-diagnosed due to patient and physiological factors. Medication strategies for asthma have been dominantly derived from younger cohorts so that effective medication strategies have usually not been explored in older people. Older people with asthma are very concerned regarding side effects of medication so that adherence to therapeutic regimes is often poor. In addition physical disability can lead to difficulty in accessing treatment and using inhaler devices. Practical strategies to improve asthma outcomes in older people have been studied infrequently and the goals of self-management suitable for younger age-groups may not be applicable in this group. Consequently, asthma in older people is deserving of further attention both to basic mechanisms of disease, precision in diagnosis and effective therapeutic strategies, including those that involve self-management and device use.

Keywords: Aged; Asthma; Health education; Middle aged; Respiratory function.