High respiratory burden found in ageing population

September 4, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—People aged 85 years and over have a high burden of respiratory disease, according to new findings from Newcastle University.
The research has shed light on the health problems likely to be encountered by the ageing population.

The research, presented today (3 September 2012) at the European Respiratory Society's annual Congress in Vienna, aimed to investigate the of at the extremes of the .

The analysis revealed that overall, 20% of men and 21% of women had either asthma or COPD. 59% of men and 50% of women showed when they undertook a spirometry test to measure lung function.

The initial results of the study suggest a significant burden of respiratory problems in a very .

People aged 85 years and over are the fastest growing age group worldwide. As many are more common in older people, ageing results in a higher number of people living with chronic conditions. (COPD) is one of the major illnesses affecting the elderly. As more people are living longer, it is likely that the number of cases of COPD will rise in the coming years.

Researchers from Newcastle University aimed to investigate the current burden of in the elderly population. The research, was conducted as part of the Newcastle 85+ study, a 5-year longitudinal study assessing and following the health and vitality of members of the general population from the year they reach 85 years of age. It is funded principally by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Dunhill Medical Trust.

The study includes comprehensive demographic, physiological, clinical and biological assessments of health and vitality. For this paper, the research team worked with 845 people aged 85 years and over from the UK.

Lead author, Therese Small, from the Freeman Hospital and Newcastle University in the UK, said: "These results are from the Newcastle 85+ Study, a major 5 year study looking at the health status of very elderly people. The results provide a novel insight into the future health care needs of this rapidly growing population.

"Over the next few years, it will be crucial for healthcare professionals to understand the problems the aging population will face and these preliminary results can help us prepare for a change in the way the elderly population are treated in the future."

Professor Tom Kirkwood, Associate Dean for Ageing at Newcastle University, and lead investigator of the Newcastle 85+ Study, said: "It's really essential to fill the current gaps in knowledge about the health of the fastest growing sector of the population, and these data on respiratory disease are a particularly important part of this effort".

Professor Andrew Fisher, from Newcastle University, who led the Respiratory theme of the study, said: "Our results confirm a significant prevalence of obstructive spirometry in the 85+ population, further evaluation of this unique dataset will allow us to examine how much of this is attributable to healthy ageing of the lungs and how much to the airways disease in this population of very old people."

Explore further: A quarter of our very elderly have undiagnosed treatable heart problems, research reveals

More information: Presenting at the European Respiratory Society's annual Congress in Vienna : Abstract: Respiratory health at the extremes of the ageing population: Initial results of the UK Newcastle 85+ study

Related Stories

A quarter of our very elderly have undiagnosed treatable heart problems, research reveals

July 24, 2012
The very oldest in our society are missing out on simple heart treatments which can prolong and improve their quality of life, Newcastle heart experts say.

New evidence highlights risk of comorbidities for COPD patients

September 26, 2011
A new study has shown that people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or people with reduced lung function are at a serious risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Early COPD detection could help lung cancer diagnosis

November 16, 2011
Early screening of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may help to detect lung cancer at an earlier stage, according to a new study.

Recommended for you

Residents: Frontline defenders against antibiotic resistance?

September 22, 2017
Antibiotic resistance continues to grow around the world, with sometimes disastrous results. Some strains of bacteria no longer respond to any currently available antibiotic, making death by infections that were once easily ...

Ecosystem approach makes urinary tract infection more treatable

September 22, 2017
The biological term 'ecosystem' is not usually associated with urinary tract infections, but this should change according to Wageningen scientists.

Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system

September 21, 2017
For years, medical investigators have tried and failed to develop vaccines for a type of staph bacteria associated with the deadly superbug MRSA. But a new study by Cedars-Sinai investigators shows how staph cells evade the ...

Superbug's spread to Vietnam threatens malaria control

September 21, 2017
A highly drug resistant malaria 'superbug' from western Cambodia is now present in southern Vietnam, leading to alarming failure rates for dihydroartemisinin (DHA)-piperaquine—Vietnam's national first-line malaria treatment, ...

Individualized diets for irritable bowel syndrome better than placebo

September 21, 2017
Patients with irritable bowel syndrome who follow individualized diets based on food sensitivity testing experience fewer symptoms, say Yale researchers. Their study is among the first to provide scientific evidence for this ...

A dose of 'wait-and-see' reduces unnecessary antibiotic use

September 21, 2017
Asking patients to take a 'wait-and-see' approach before having their antibiotic prescriptions filled significantly reduces unnecessary use, a University of Queensland study has shown.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.