Asthma can occur in the older person

Robert John Adams, Richard E. Ruffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Up to 35% of people aged over 55 years who have asthma remain undiagnosed. Identification and appropriate treatment can make a large difference to health outcomes in this patient group.

Asthma is common in the Australian adult population,
with approximately one in eight having
doctor-diagnosed disease.1 Studies from Australia
and elsewhere show that the care of large proportions
of people with asthma does not correspond
with current recommendations.2,3 In particular,
use of preventive anti-inflammatory medications
in adults remains suboptimal.
Asthma occurs in 15% of Australians aged
over 55 years, but under-recognition is higher
than in younger age groups. A recent study of a
random population of 4000 adults in North West
Adelaide revealed that around 35% of those aged
over 55 years who had significant reversibility of
airway obstruction (i.e. at least 12% and 200mL
increase in FEV1 with bronchodilators) had not
been diagnosed with asthma.4 Importantly, these
individuals had, on average, similar symptoms
but a greater bronchodilator response as those
who had been diagnosed and treated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalMedicine Today
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Older people
  • Asthma
  • comorbidities
  • bronchoconstriction


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