The changing seasons bring bright fall foliage, happy holiday celebrations, and time with loved ones. As the temperatures dip, however, a myriad of health concerns can arise in older adults that must be properly managed even in an active retirement community. One ailment that’s particularly worrisome for older adults is adult-onset asthma.
Asthma doesn’t just affect kids—and its symptoms may be worse in cold-and-flu season. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, over two million Americans ages 65 and older are living with asthma. In fact, according to the Journal for Nurse Practitioners, there are more asthma-related deaths among older adults than in any other age group. This is largely credited to the common misperception that asthma is a childhood disease—older adults often allow symptoms to go unchecked as they don’t know or don’t recognize the symptoms of asthma as asthma. Knowing the symptoms from the beginning is important because unmanaged asthma in older adults can be deadly.
Some common symptoms include the following:
- Excessive coughing during exercise or when laughing
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing and/or difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness
Has a loved one noticed increased coughing during their favorite aerobics class at their active retirement community? Or, has he or she noticed wheezing from regular activities like carrying a bag of groceries inside the house? If a senior family member is showing signs of any of the symptoms above, it would be wise to schedule an appointment with a doctor. One way to avoid adult-onset asthma and other similar ailments is to stay active. Whether living in an active retirement community or in their private home, seniors who want to start an exercise program should first talk with a physician. Their discussion should focus on which exercises would be most suitable for them. If asthma-related symptoms persist, a doctor can recommend following an action plan, as well as medications that may aid in quick relief from asthma-related flare-ups.