A recent research reveals that several older Australians could be dying due to respiratory diseases including asthma.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare conducted this study, according to which, some deaths and hospitalizations from asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are not reported.
Shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing are the characteristic symptoms of asthma, a chronic respiratory condition. COPD is too a serious, long-term respiratory disease that mostly affects older people who have been exposed to tobacco smoke and exhibits similar symptoms.
According to the report, these diseases are often listed as an associated cause of death or additional hospital diagnosis among people aged 55 or older.
Only primary diagnosis of asthma and COPD were taken into consideration in the conventional statistical analyses, according to the Australian Centre of Asthma Monitoring.
"What those studies overlook is the fact that asthma and COPD are frequently listed as additional conditions in deaths and hospitalisations," the centre's Patricia Correll said.
The report said "the involvement of obstructive lung disease in deaths and hospitalisations might be underestimated in conventional analyses that are based solely on underlying cause of death and principal diagnosis".
Asthma was an associated cause of death four times more often than being the underlying cause, according to the death certificates.
It was recorded as one of multiple diagnoses three times more often than being recorded as the principal diagnosis.
"People aged 55 or older with COPD were also more likely to have other smoking-related illnesses, such as lung cancer, and those who died or were hospitalised with asthma or COPD were more likely to have respiratory infections or heart failure," Ms Correll said.
According to the report, Asthma and COPD in older Australians, people with asthma were more prone to anxiety, depression and osteoporosis.