Epidemiology and Respiratory Diseases

Pulmonary disease prevalence increases with age and contributes to morbidity and mortality in older patients. Dyspnea in older patients is often ascribed to multiple etiologies such as medical comorbidities and deconditioning. Common pulmonary disorders are frequently overlooked as contributors to dyspnea in older patients. In addition to negative impacts on morbidity and mortality, quality of life is reduced in older patients with uncontrolled, undertreated pulmonary symptoms. The purpose of this review is to discuss the epidemiology of common pulmonary diseases, namely pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, lung cancer, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in older patients. We will review common clinical presentations for these diseases and highlight differences between younger and older patients. We will also briefly discuss risk factors, treatment, and mortality associated with these diseases. Finally, we will address the relationship between comorbidities, pulmonary symptoms, and quality of life in older patients with pulmonary diseases.

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