Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways manifested by diffuse airflow obstruction, complete or partial reversibility of the airflow obstruction, and bronchial hyper-responsiveness. Asthma may occur at any age and is more prevalent in older compared to younger adults. Unfortunately, the diagnosis of asthma is frequently overlooked as patients underreport their symptoms, physicians underutilize pulmonary function testing, and symptoms are mistaken for other diseases such as COPD and heart failure. The medications used to treat the older asthmatic are effective, well tolerated, and the same as those used to treat younger patients.
Key words: asthma, reversible airflow obstruction, airway remodelling, beta-agonist therapy, inhaled corticosteroids.