The older people get, the weaker their body and major organs become. The respiratory system is particularly susceptible to aging and a number of respiratory diseases affect the elderly—or become more pronounced as people get older. Some of the major ones are highlighted below:
According to the American Lung Association, over 20 million adults in the US are living with asthma. While it has no known cure, the condition is relatively easy to manage with medication and therapy. If poorly managed, however, asthma has been known to cause respiratory failure and death.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
This is one of the deadliest diseases in the world and it is the 4th most fatal health condition in the US, causing approximately 120,000 deaths every year. COPD is the general term used to describe progressive lung diseases; emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Since the disease gets worse over time, the elderly make up a majority of the 27 million Americans that have COPD.
While asthma and COPD are the most common, the US adult population also suffer from some other respiratory failures including sarcoidosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, rhinitis, and chronic sinusitis. In people 65 years and older, respiratory failures are generally a symptom of congestive heart failure or other serious diseases.
As you get older, it is important to pay more attention to your respiratory health. Incessant coughing (with blood), breathing difficulty, wheezing, chest pain, and excess mucus are signs that something may be wrong with a major respiratory organ and you need immediate care.
If you live close to Magnolia, Texas, visit the Internal Medicine Diagnostic Center to receive acute care for respiratory diseases. Call 281-252-8600 to make an appointment.