Asthma is a condition that you wouldn't wish on anyone. An attack can be frightening, painful and potentially fatal, and the symptoms can cause a great deal of disruption to a person's life.
It is estimated that 5 million Brits have asthma. Although anyone can develop the condition, elderly people are particularly vulnerable to the symptoms. Why is this?
'Asthma' is taken from the Ancient Greek term 'aazein' which means to pant with an open mouth. Asthma has been with us for thousands of years and we still can't cure it. In basic terms asthma is when your airways are sensitive to allergens, and become inflamed. During an attack your airway muscles tighten and narrow. This makes it hard to get air in and out of your lungs.
Struggling for breath is the main symptom. Those who already have asthma may notice these changes as they age.
Late onset asthma may affect the elderly for the first time in their lives. This is fairly common and often comes as a shock.
If you have an elderly relative with asthma make sure they are not getting worse by taking them to their doctor's appointments. Here are some more suggestions.
Because asthma is common it's easy to dismiss it like we do with colds, man-flu and hay-fever, but we really should take it seriously; asthma is a life-threatening condition. So now you know, do take care of your elderly relatives and make sure they get the treatment they need.