Monday, June 19, 2017

Asthma in the elderly

I was diagnosed with asthma in my 70s and was stunned. A childhood disease (usually) or early adult onset I knew about, but no one in my immediate family had it--in fact, I can only remember my cousin Kirby being an asthmatic. When I was a child, asthma in children was like peanut allergies--almost no one I knew had asthma. One theory is our environment today is too clean--children can't build their immunity.

  I didn't want to accept the diagnosis after all the testing (x-ray, EKG, spirometry, trigger with methacholine, exercise to induce problems), then had a horrid reaction at my first attempts at using an inhaler, so I do nothing.  I slow down if I can't breathe. I'm still here; no ER visits. (Also, my MD never even asks.) But it's thin ice for the elderly. I personally think not enough research is out there to determine if what works for the kiddoes (like age 35) works for a 75 year old who is already on other meds. I clicked through one of those medical articles FB sent me, "Visual Guide to Asthma" (23 clicks--I hate that even though I really have nothing else pressing for time) to see the symptoms; no dirty working environment although libraries are dusty and sometimes old; no allergies to pets; live in a clean suburb; no food allergies; not overweight--although I was pushing that BMI hard when I was diagnosed; regular medical care; moderate exercise; never a smoker and so forth. Only one click picked up the early signs--difficulty sleeping, and a lot of colds which last weeks. So being a researcher at heart and by profession, I found something more detailed and age appropriate to read. I printed it to read more carefully. 

If you're breathless, perhaps it's just not your age. And if you're sleepless in Seattle, maybe it's something other than love.

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