COPD is an abbreviation for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a general term that is used to describe conditions that are progressive and affect the lungs, such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. When a person has COPD, the airflow from the lungs is obstructed.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, COPD affects 12 million people in the United States and another 12 million are undiagnosed. The large number of undiagnosed people with COPD is believed to be because many people think that it is normal to experience increasing breathlessness with age.
In addition, the symptoms of COPD in its beginning stages are mild and may go unnoticed. The good news is that COPD is treatable and it is possible for those with COPD to keep the symptoms under control and live a good quality of life. Because COPD is a treatable condition that affects so many senior Americans, it’s important that caregivers recognize the signs and symptoms of COPD so that the seniors in their care are able to get the necessary medical attention.
What causes COPD?
The majority of cases of COPD in America are caused by smoking and inhaling second-hand smoke, but COPD can also be caused by prolonged exposure to pollutants that may be inhaled. Work environments in which people are exposed to dust, fumes, and chemicals may contribute to COPD. Genetics also play a role in COPD, so it is possible for a person who has never smoked or worked in an area that exposed them to pollutants to get COPD.
What are the symptoms of COPD?
COPD symptoms are so mild at the start that they usually aren’t noticed until the lungs are damaged to a significant extent. The symptoms of COPD get worse over time, especially if the person is still being exposed to cigarette smoke or other pollutants.
The signs and symptoms of COPD are:
How can you help your senior parent manage COPD?
There are many medical treatments available to help people with COPD, such as oxygen therapy, medications, and surgery. In addition, you and your senior parent’s caregivers can help implement some lifestyle changes that will improve your parent’s quality of life and help them to live longer with COPD. Some of the changes you can help your parent make are:
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care Services in Deerfield IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.