asthma treatment in elderly can be more complicated and different from adults and children. One thing for sure is the medication that can be given to them is a bit more limited than adult and children. The elderly are unable to take certain medication as their weak physique can make certain side effects unbearable.
This may be true if the elderly have current long term illness like glaucoma and are taking other medication. Giving asthma medication can only interfere with the other medication and aggravate instead of helping the asthma condition. Taking too much medication at one time can also lead to liver damage in the long run. Not so good news for an already frail elderly body.
The purpose of treatment of asthma in the elderly is similar to other asthma treatment is so that the elderly can lead a normal life as soon as possible. Treatment guidelines are also similar too. Take control of the asthma first then reduce dosage to reduce side effects of medication.
Difficulties Faced by Doctor When Treating Elderly With Asthma
The difficulties that elderly face is that many of them will face problem using MDI (metered dose inhaler) if they are suffering from arthritis and or other joint related illness. They may lack the physical strength to press the canister. Measuring peak flow can prove to be a herculean task for them if they lack the strength for a forceful breath.
Inhaled corticosteroid can be given but however it must be in controlled as elderly are more susceptible side effects bruising of skin and bone damage which leads to faster osteoporosis in the elderly. Corticosteroid taken orally posed even a greater danger elderly people has a weaker digestive system and the medication digest slower. This means that the side effects are more adverse and last longer. Physician will usually reduce the dosage as soon as possible.
Doctors also have noted more adverse side effects when taking beta2 agonist. Symptoms include cardiac arrest if the elderly have already an existing heart condition. Drop in potassium levels is also noted. Elderly that are unable to bear the side effects of beta2 agonist may opt for anti-cholinergic instead.
Elderly may also have to stop beta blocker medication and take a selective agent instead. Beta blocker medications are commonly prescribed for common elderly illness like hypertension, migraine and cardiac arrhythmia. Beta receptors in the lungs calm the muscle layer in the bronchial tubes. These beta blockers impede the beta receptors in the lungs from receiving nerve signals and lead to reverse effect and constriction of the tubes occur instead.
asthma treatment for elderly can be a complicated process as doctors need to weigh in more factors than treatment for the adult and children. A good advice is that elderly have another care person that is preferably a close family member to act as a look out.