Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Older People: Breathing Deeper with Age
- Pp. 107-127 (21)Tuck Yean Yong
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the most common chronic diseases in older people. COPD in the older population is a challenging disorder to diagnose and manage because of several unique age-related aspects. Agerelated changes in pulmonary function can predispose older people to increased risk of mortality and other complications from COPD. The established Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease criteria can be applied effectively to older people with COPD. This approach requires the use of spirometry which can be performed satisfactorily in most older patients. Treatments that are effective to reduce acute respiratory exacerbations include smoking cessation, vaccinations against influenza and pneumococcus, and the use of short- and long-acting bronchodilators. Other beneficial management strategies for COPD in older adults include pulmonary rehabilitation, domiciliary oxygen and noninvasive positive airway pressure when indicated. Care should also be focused on common comorbidities associated with COPD as these can often complicate the health of older people.