Asthma & Older People

People are often surprised to find out they’ve developed asthma later in life but it’s not unusual. Regardless of your age, it's important to ensure your asthma is well looked after and under control.

It’s very important to make sure your asthma is well controlled as you get older.   Whether you have had asthma for many years, or you have just been diagnosed, you need to have an Asthma Action Plan  in place to help you manage your condition. 

People are often surprised to find out they’ve developed asthma late in life but it’s not unusual. It is known as late onset asthma or adult onset asthma.

Sometimes asthma is harder to diagnose in older people because the symptoms such as being short of breath, can also indicate other conditions.  Many people also think their symptoms are just a part of getting older and so they may not ask for help or seek medical attention.

Happy senior couple

Tips for Managing Asthma as You Get Older:

  • Your medicines need to work harder as the lungs get older and it’s a good idea to see your GP or asthma nurse to review what medicines you’re taking. The best treatment plan for you now might be different from the one you had when you were younger.

  • Ask about any medicines you’re taking for other conditions and how these might react with your asthma medicines.

  • To make the most of your asthma medicines you need to take your inhaler in the right way. Ask your GP or asthma nurse to check your inhaler technique.

  • If you find it difficult to use your inhaler, ask your GP or asthma nurse for a device you can use easily – there’s a wide range of inhalers available.

  • It’s important to continue taking your asthma medicines, but talk to your GP or asthma nurse as soon as possible if you’re worried about any side effects.

  • Regular asthma reviews and an asthma action plan are important at any age, and can help you stay on top of your asthma.

  • Even if you’ve had the same or similar symptoms for years, your asthma can change as you get older.  Make sure you tell your GP or asthma nurse about any new symptoms. These may be part of ageing, but could also be a symptom of another condition. It’s important to get the correct diagnosis so that you can get the right treatment.

  • As you get older you might be more at risk of lung infections or take longer to recover from them. This makes colds and viral infections an important asthma trigger to be aware of. People with asthma should be offered the flu vaccine every year and a one off pneumococcal vaccine to protect against pneumonia as well.

If you would like to talk about your condition and get advice on managing asthma at any age, speak to one of our asthma nurse specialists over the phone by booking an appointment on  the Asthma Adviceline 1800 44 54 64.

Senior Woman