Prevalence and Correlates of Respiratory Symptoms and Disease in the Elderly: Conclusion

Prevalence and Correlates of Respiratory Symptoms and Disease in the Elderly: ConclusionFor the same smoking history, elderly women (without a diagnosis of asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema) are twice as likely as elderly men to have airways obstruction. This could indicate that (1) their airways are more susceptible to cigarette smoking, (2) that other diseases which also cause airways obstruction are more prevalent in women, or (3) that physicians are less likely to detect and diagnose the cause of airways obstruction in women.
Perhaps the choice of exclusionary criteria for the healthy group from whom the spirometry predicted values were determined influenced the gender difference in the obstruction model; however, the lower limits of our normal range for FEVi were not considerably different from those of other studies read contraceptive pills. Elderly persons who report a higher income, indicating a higher socioeconomic status, are much less likely to have airways obstruction for the same smoking history. Perhaps this could be explained by fewer respiratory illness during childhood, better nutrition, less exposure to workplace respiratory hazards, and better access to healthcare with prompt treatment of pulmonary infections. We did not measure these variables.
The prevalence of respiratory symptoms, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema in elderly persons from the CHS cohort is similar to that in middle-aged adults from other studies. Current and former cigarette smoking was strongly associated with an increased risk of chronic cough and phlegm, DOE, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and airways obstruction. Dyspnea on exertion and attacks of wheezing with dyspnea were associated with CHD and CHF, as well as with obstructive airway diseases. A low FEVi was independently associated with all of the respiratory symptoms and diseases. Airways obstruction was frequently undiagnosed and, for a given smoking history, more common in women, those with lower income, and those with a history of chronic cough.

This entry was posted in Pulmonary Function and tagged abnormality rates, elderly, respiratory symptoms.