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

Prevalence and Correlates of Respiratory Symptoms and Disease in the Elderly: Respiratory Symptom PrevalenceTwelve percent were current cigarette smokers and 42 percent were former smokers. Almost twice as many women were never smokers (57 percent) as were the men (32 percent). The women who were current smokers had smoked less than the men (mean, 38 vs 56 pack-years). Only 3.1 percent were routinely taking a theophylline preparation and 4.3 percent had taken either a pill or inhaler for breathing problems during the 24 hours before spirometry testing. In contrast, 16 percent had taken a /3-blocker pill during that period, and a total of 43 percent were receiving antihypertensive medication. Thirteen percent reported an acute respiratory tract infection (such as a cold, flu, bronchitis, or pneumonia) during the 3 weeks prior to spirometry testing (data not shown).
Current cigarette smokers reported a higher prevalence of most respiratory symptoms than did former or never smokers (Table 1). Elderly men reported phlegm more frequently than did elderly women, regardless of their smoking history, but never-smoking women reported cough and dyspnea more frequently than did never-smoking men. Allergy relief Click Here Analysis of the relationship of cigarette smoking with spirometry results from the CHS cohort is reported elsewhere.
Most elderly participants reported at least some shortness of breath when hurrying on the level or walking up a slight hill (grade 1 dyspnea). Very few reported that they were too breathless to leave the house or breathless on dressing or undressing (grade 5 dyspnea), probably because participation in the study required visits to the clinic. Overall, women who never smoked reported more dyspnea than did never-smoking men (10 percent vs 6.4 percent). About one fourth of the elderly participants reported a history of acute bronchitis or pneumonia, while about 5 percent reported a diagnosis of each of the chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema). Acute bronchitis was reported by a much higher percentage of women than men in each smoking category.

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