Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly known as COPD, is a much more debilitating condition than a lot of people realize. November is the perfect time to learn more about COPD, because that is COPD Awareness Month. Here’s what you, your senior and their home care assistance providers need to know if she’s at risk of developing COPD herself.
COPD Is an Umbrella Disease
COPD is what’s called an umbrella disease, because there are several different conditions that can be collected up under the name COPD. Chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and other lung issues all can contribute to COPD. This is a progressive illness which at this time has no cure at all. That means that it will continue to worsen over time. Your senior may be able to manage the symptoms.
COPD Causes Reduced Airflow
Regardless of the type of COPD your senior has, the biggest problem is that her airflow is reduced. She may have less airflow for a variety of reasons, such as the air sacs in the lungs becoming less elastic and being unable to expand. She may also experience thicker airways that are constantly inflamed, making breathing more difficult.
COPD Has Other Health Impacts
Your senior’s body needs oxygen in order to function, of course. But most people don’t fully realize what that means until they’re facing reduced oxygen levels. Because breathing becomes such an effort, many people with COPD find that they lose weight too quickly due to the calories involved. Your senior may also find that with inflamed lungs, her stomach has less room to expand for her to eat enough. It can be difficult to move and to do normal activities and she may experience a great deal of pain.
What Can You and Home Care Assistance Services Do?
So, what can you do for your senior? Helping her to learn how to conserve energy is vital. Your elderly family member may benefit from home care assistance providers helping with tasks that require more energy than she has to give. Home care assistance providers may also help with things like meal preparation and ensuring that she’s eating on a regular schedule. Home care assistance services can help in a lot of other ways, too, especially as your senior’s symptoms become more involved.
Your senior’s doctor will outline a care plan for her when she’s diagnosed with COPD. That care plan may change as her symptoms change, so it’s important that she continues to follow up with her doctor on a regular basis.
Excerpt: November is COPD Awareness Month, so it’s important to understand what it is and how it affects your senior.