Asthma & the Elderly

Asthma & the Elderly

Asthma in Elderly Adults

Seniors or the elderly are often diagnosed with asthma, a disease which causes severe breathing issues.Asthma Asthma in elderly adults occurs when the symptoms are activated through many different triggers, which play their part in swelling the lungs, making breathing a chore.


There are no specifics reasons for triggering this condition in the elderly. Most get this at a very young age which they carry with them throughout their life. It can be triggered by pets, allergies, and is also considered a genetic condition. Asthma is mostly triggered by tract infections, exertion, cold air, humidity, strong odors, and irritants. Air pollution and the presence of pollen grains are also one of the main reasons for allergic reactions that can trigger it.


There are different symptoms in different cases of asthma. Sometimes the elderly will find it hard to breathe, while it may seem like cardiac arrest to some. Wheezing, coughing, production of mucous is also imminent. If there is presence of eosinophils in the sputum of senior he/she might have asthma.

Sometimes the symptoms are present at a very young age, but do not come out till the individual has reached a certain age, when the triggers are activated.

Similar Symptoms Mimic other Disease

The symptoms present in the medical condition of asthma can often be confusing. Many other diseases have similar symptoms such as allergies. The breathing issues they trigger may be confused with an asthmatic attack. The following are some other other conditions that do the same:

  • Cardiac Disease- The symptoms of dyspnea, coughing, and wheezing can indicate asthma as well; this is also known as cardiac arrest.
  • Drug induced Symptoms- The presence of chronic cough, due to ACE inhibitors, is very similar to an asthmatic attack .
  • Beta Blockers- Beta blockers are used to treat underlying asthma, but it can be used to treat other diseases like heart disease, migraine, hypertension, and glaucoma.
  • Malignancy- Wheezing can give off asthma like symptoms.
  • COPD- The swelling or closing of the airway is very similar to an asthma attack. This makes it harder to determine that if the reason behind the swelling was asthma or was it COPD.
  • Aspiration Syndromes- The neurotically impairment can lead to dyspnea, which is the sub-optimal or muscles present in the respiratory tract.
  • GERD- GERD is heartburn and chronic coughs which is a documented trigger of asthma.
  • Chronic Sinus Disease- Sinus conditions cause irritated airways, mucus blocked bronchi, allergic reactions, and other asthma related triggers.
  • Pulmonary Disease-This disease is associated with tuberculosis, sarcoidosis, interstitial fibrosis, auto immune disease, and other infections which are seen in asthma.
  • Pulmonary Embolus- Presence of significant dyspnea can replicate asthma

The nurses at Partners in Healthcare are available to talk with you about your in-home senior care needs including how to stay healthy at home with RN managed affordable care. We are a private duty home care agency that provides elder home care services in the Orlando area, call us at 407-788-9393.


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