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Asthma Outcomes Worse in Older Women

THURSDAY, Aug. 21, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Older women face increased challenges in managing their asthma, according to a review published in the August issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

Alan P. Baptist, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues outline the challenges faced by older women in treating asthma and offer practical solutions to improve their care.

The researchers cite that the asthma rate is no greater in older women than in other segments of the population, but the rates of illness and death are much higher, with an asthma mortality rate that is four times higher among women older than 65 years, compared to other groups. The health of older women with asthma is also affected by the following: an increased risk of osteoporosis, glaucoma, cataracts, and adrenal suppression in older women using inhalers; an increased rate of depression and more severe depression with severe asthma; and a diminished awareness of breathlessness. Finally, menopause tends to increase the number of attacks in women with existing asthma.

"Allergists want older women to understand that getting their asthma under control can help them control a range of other adverse health conditions," Baptist said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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