Diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of children with asthma are discussed in Chapter l 20, "Asthma and Bronchitis." Although newly diagnosed asthma in older populations is not uncommon, differentiation of the etiology of wheezing in older asthmatics may present a challenge. Historical data may help differentiate between congestive heart failure, pulmonary malignancy, and obstructive airway disease, but distinguishing between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and acute asthma is often difficult.4
Treatment of older asthmatics should proceed in the same manner as treatment of younger asthmatics. Age-related changes in pulmonary function must be considered when determining response to treatment in older asthmatics, and care should be taken to avoid medication interactions.
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If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.