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6 Most Common Asthma Triggers for Seniors

By , 9:00 am on

Asthma causes inflammation, edema and swelling in the lining of lung airways when irritated, which also increases mucus formation. The muscles around the airways can also become affected, which further contributes to the narrowing of the passageways. Asthma sufferers experience difficulty breathing, chest tightness, coughing and wheezing that can become life threatening if not treated. The Department of Health and Human Services reports that the diagnosis is common among the elderly. More than two million adults over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with the disorder. Various triggers are associated with causing asthma attacks, which Omaha, NE, caregivers can help their loved ones avoid.

1. Airborne Allergies

Seniors who suffer allergy symptoms when exposed to airborne substances have an increased risk of triggering asthma. Common airborne antigens that cause respiratory symptoms include grass, tree or weed pollen, mold, animal dander, dust mite debris or cockroach droppings. 

2. Food or Food Additive Sensitivities

Elderly adults that have allergies to certain foods or food additives are also at an increased risk of inducing an asthma attack. Foods most often involved include: 

  • Dairy products
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Wheat
  • Shellfish
  • Potassium bisulfite
  • Potassium metabisulfite
  • Sodium bisulfite
  • Sodium metabisulfite
  • Sodium sulfite

3. Exercise

Strenuous physical activity is responsible for causing an asthma attack in up to 80 percent of the people who live with the chronic condition. Warming up slowly before starting any activity reduces this risk. 

4. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

More than 80 percent of seniors diagnosed with asthma additionally suffer from GERD. In this case, uncontrolled stomach acids not only irritate the esophagus, they also irritate respiratory passages. 

5. Smoking

Smoking irritates and paralyzes lung passages while constricting blood vessels. The combination of these actions leaves the lungs susceptible to asthma. 

6. Upper Respiratory Infections

Bacterial, fungal or viral infections of the sinuses or upper lungs produce inflammation, edema and swelling of the affected areas, which may lead to asthma attacks.

Learn more chronic illnesses like asthma when you contact Home Care Assistance at (402) 261-5158. We provide reliable in-home senior care Omaha seniors can trust to help them manage chronic illness, injury and other aspects of aging in the comfort of home. Talk to a friendly Care Manager today to schedule a free in-home consultation.