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Allergy Asthma Proc. 2004 Nov-Dec;25(6):371-3.

The elderly asthmatic patient.

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Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, St Louis University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri 63104-1028, USA.


The fastest growing population in the United States is the elderly person. Clinicians can expect to see more patients that are elderly in their practice with asthma because the incidence is about the same as the general population. Asthma in the elderly patient is underdiagnosed because of false perceptions by both patient and physician. The high incidence of comorbid conditions in the elderly patient makes the diagnosis and management more difficult. The elderly asthmatic patient appears to be undertreated with fewer being given inhaled corticosteroids. Asthma in the elderly patient adversely affects quality of life and results in a higher hospitalization rate and mortality. Allergy is common enough in the elderly asthmatic patient to warrant appropriate diagnostic techniques and intervention including environmental control, pharmacotherapy, and immunotherapy.

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