Boomers at elevated risk of asthma death

May 2, 2012 at 12:03 AM   |   0 comments

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., May 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. death rate attributed to asthma for those age 65 and older is 14 times higher than in younger patients, researchers say.

Lead researcher Dr. Andrew Smith -- a fellow of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology -- said despite the higher death rate for U.S. baby boomers due to asthma, only 53 percent of patients reported using prescribed medications.

The study found asthmatic baby boomers had increased allergy sensitivity, decreased lung function and significantly poorer quality of life.

The researchers analyzed 77 patients age 60 and older, with and without asthma. A complete medical history, physical examination, skin prick and breathing tests, and exhaled nitric oxide measurements were performed. Quality of life was measured through via patient questionnaire.

The study -- published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology -- showed 89 percent of patients with asthma also had allergies to mold, animals and/or dust mites.

Poor general health, increased body pain and worse overall physical health were reported in asthma sufferers compared to those without the disease, the study said. Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, arthritis and diabetes were found to be significantly more common, Smith said.

"Those with asthma reported more infections, physician visits and more impact on health, yet only half are regularly treating the disease," Smith said.

Topics: Andrew Smith
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