The world’s population is ageing, and physicians need to be prepared to handle the many chronic medical conditions that affect the geriatric population. Recent studies suggest that restrictive respiratory abnormalities in this population are more common than previously realised [1, 2]. Clinical manifestations of restrictive impairment, such as dyspnoea and decreased exercise capacity, can have a large impact on a patient’s health and quality of life [3, 4]. Although restrictive abnormalities are classically linked to interstitial lung disease, neurological disorders and space-occupying lesions, new research has shown that many common medical ailments are associated with these findings . Better understanding of the factors related to restrictive lung impairment may enable primary-care providers to intervene early and prevent the sequelae associated with this abnormality.
Office spirometers are being increasingly used in primary-care settings and provide physicians with a valuable tool for the early detection of respiratory disease. Although some studies have demonstrated the potential importance of office spirometry in screening for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) by primary-care providers, controversy regarding the role of spirometry in asymptomatic patients remains [5–7]. Not addressed in current studies, however, is the role of spirometry in general-practice-based detection of respiratory abnormalities other than COPD, such as restriction on spirometry. This may be important in that interventions other than smoking cessation are important in the disease processes related to this abnormality.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_mannino/55/