How Does Asthma Affect Seniors?

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Asthma is an inflammatory disease characterized by constriction of the airways of the respiratory tract. It can lead to breathing difficulties, coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. The condition impacts close to two million American adults over the age of 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Asthma can cause minor irritation in some individuals, while others may experience serious and life-threatening complications. Read on to learn more about how asthma impacts senior health. 


Asthma can develop at any age. Exposure to specific allergens or irritants, including pollen, dust mites, animal dander, mold, and smoke, can trigger symptoms in the elderly. Excessive physical activity, a common cold, acid reflux, certain medications, and extreme stress can also initiate an asthma attack. 

Many seniors with asthma find it challenging to handle daily tasks without assistance. Elder care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.


Diagnosis of asthma in older adults can be challenging, as the symptoms mimic other conditions, such as heart disease and emphysema. Many elderly men and women with asthma may also have coughs and sputum, and the physician may misdiagnose it as chronic bronchitis. It’s important to ask the right questions. Ideally, the doctor will perform a thorough physical examination to rule out respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Your loved one may also be given a lung function test to assess the amount of air flowing through his or her airways. The clinician may also rely on a nitric oxide test, imaging studies, a methacholine challenge, and other tests to confirm the diagnosis. 

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Tucson, AZ, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.


The physician may prescribe inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers, long-acting beta-antagonists, and combination inhalers to manage the condition. Oral and intravenous corticosteroids may be prescribed for immediate relief. Some older adults have difficulty using their inhalers or remembering their medication regimens. 

Your loved one’s asthma medications may lead to side effects and may also interact with other medications he or she is taking. Always talk to the doctor if you have any questions or concerns. You should also request a change in asthma treatment if your loved one’s symptoms worsen, if he or she is required to go to the emergency room more than twice in a year, if asthma wakes him or her up at night more than twice in a month, or if he or she needs a rescue inhaler to control the symptoms more than two times in a week. 

Asthma can be managed effectively with the right treatment. However, even a simple respiratory infection can lead to asthma, especially in the elderly. Both seniors and their caregivers should exercise caution at all times. 

Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing serious illnesses and require more extensive live-in care. Tucson seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve. Call us today at (520) 276-6555 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.


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