Asthma

02 December 2008

Asthma and the elderly

Don’t be fooled into thinking asthma is only a childhood disease.

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Don’t be fooled into thinking asthma is only a childhood disease. It can occur for the "first" time in your thirties or forties or even in your sixties or seventies.

It is regularly diagnosed as a new condition in the elderly. But according to the latest research, the adult suffering from adult-onset asthma will remember an incidence(s) of asthma in her/his childhood. Almost all adults who are "newly" diagnosed with asthma, had suffered some or other form of asthma in their infancy or childhood, and had relapsed after a long "remission".

Elderly patients may be difficult to medicate because they have other health considerations such as heart problems but, with the help of a skilled professional, they should be able to lead a normal, active life. The first line of treatment for adults and the elderly corresponds with the first line of treatment for all: bronchodilators for acute attacks and inhaled corticosteroids for chronic treatment if needed.

If your elderly parent suffers from asthma, you may have to lend a hand with cleaning around the house to ensure that house-dust mites (the most common asthma allergen) or cockroaches don’t get a foothold. Arrange with your elderly parent to do an intensive spring clean at least once a month. They can do maintenance cleans in between. Help keep house-dust mites at bay by using synthetic duvets and pillows and by keeping knick-knacks and clutter to a minimum. The covers available to cover mattresses are much more effective than even a decade ago. Specialists recommend all precautionary measures available.

Read more:
Asthma triggers

National Asthma Education Programme (NAEP)
Allergy Society of South Africa (ALLSA)

 

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Professor Keertan Dheda has received of several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others.Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute

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