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The World in Medicine
April 11, 2001

Asthma and the Elderly

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JAMA. 2001;285(14):1831. doi:10.1001/jama.285.14.1831-JWM10003-2-1

Many elderly Canadians with asthma are not receiving inhaled steroid therapy, a treatment that has been proven to decrease asthma-related hospitalizations and deaths (Chest. 2001;119:720-725). These new findings, say investigators from the University of Alberta and University of Toronto, help explain why asthma-related deaths among the elderly have continued to rise despite improvements in management of asthma during the past decade.

The study found that 40% of Ontario residents over 65 who experienced a recent acute exacerbation of asthma did not receive inhaled steroid therapy at or near the time of their discharge from the hospital. Patients over 70 were less likely to receive the treatment than those under 70, and patients who had at least three other medical conditions were almost 3.5 times less likely to receive inhaled steroid therapy.

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