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Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
Volume 2009 (2009), Article ID 858415, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2009/858415
Review Article

Asthma in the Elderly

Emergency Department, Vittorio Cosentino Hospital, 87062 Cariati, Italy

Received 8 February 2009; Revised 8 July 2009; Accepted 10 September 2009

Academic Editor: Zoltan Mikes

Copyright © 2009 Domenico Lorenzo Urso. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Bronchial asthma is a common problem with enormous medical and economics impacts. It is an inflammatory disease of the airways associated with intermittent episodes of bronchospasm. Asthma is not uncommon in the elderly patients. Prevalence of asthma is similar in older and younger adults. Asthma in the elderly patient is underdiagnosed because of false perceptions by both patient and physician. The high incidence of comorbid conditions in the elderly patient makes the diagnosis and management more difficult. Correct diagnosis is demonstrated with spirometry. The goals of asthma treatment are to achieve and maintain control of symptoms and to prevent development of irreversible airflow limitation. Asthma drugs are preferably inhaled because this route minimizes systemic absorption and, thus, improves the ratio of the therapeutic benefit to the potential side-effects in elderly patients.