Projects per year
Lung diseases disproportionately affect elderly individuals. The lungs form a unique environment: a highly elastic organ with gaseous exchange requiring the closest proximity of inhaled air containing harmful agents and the circulating blood. The lungs are highly susceptible to senescence, with age and ‘inflammageing’ creating a pro-inflammatory environment with a reduced capacity to deal with challenges. While lung diseases may have disparate causes, the burden of ageing and inflammation provides a common process that can exacerbate seemingly unrelated pathologies. However, these shared pathways may also provide a common route to treatment, with increased interest in drugs that target ageing processes across respiratory diseases. In this review, we will examine the evidence for the increased burden of lung disease in older adults, the structural and functional changes seen with advancing age and assess what our expanding knowledge of inflammation and ageing pathways could mean for the treatment of lung disease.