Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, is a very serious chronic lung disease that affects an estimated 24 million people worldwide. This disease is debilitating to those affected and it is also one of the top causes of death in the U.S.
It is believed that COPD is caused by long-term exposure to long irritants including air pollution, chemical fumes, high levels of dust, especially in mining occupations, and of course cigarette smoke. The symptoms of COPD typically appear after the age of 40 and they develop slowly over time. COPD cannot be cured, but progression of the disease can be slowed and the symptoms can be treated to help the affected individual lead a higher quality and more active life.
People affected by COPD generally take medications to help relieve the symptoms and those with serious complications may require oxygen therapy. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we can help those affected by COPD in Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Wheeling, IL and the surrounding area by monitoring their medication and oxygen tank levels for oxygen therapy. Our caregivers will keep a watchful eye on their medication intake and therapy use to ensure that they are treating their symptoms the best they can.
What is COPD?
COPD is a chronic, degenerative lung disease that is triggered by exposure to lung irritants which means that it is also preventable. This disease attacks the alveoli, or elastic air sacks, that are at the end of the bronchial tube within the lungs.
COPD can cause emphysema within the alveoli in which the walls will become swollen or damaged, and it can also cause chronic obstructive bronchitis in which the bronchial tube lining becomes inflamed and irritated and blocks the air path to the alveoli.
Those suffering from COPD commonly experience the following symptoms:
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent cough
While these symptoms are very common among those suffering from COPD, the presence of these symptoms alone does not mean that a person has COPD. A person can also have COPD without having all of these symptoms.
It is best to consult a physician to determine if these symptoms are caused by COPD or another condition. Physicians will run a number of tests to determine if someone has COPD including lung function tests, chest x-rays or CAT scans, and an arterial blood gas test.
There are a number of treatments that can help relieve the symptoms of COPD and they are prescribed based on the progression of the disease and severity of the symptoms. Medications such as bronchodilators and steroids can open up the airways by relaxing muscles, and a steroid inhaler can be prescribed to reduce swelling. It is also important for those with COPD to get vaccines against the flu and pneumonia because these diseases can be devastating.
Some who are affected by COPD can go through pulmonary rehabilitation which includes exercise, disease management, and psychological counseling. This treatment is supervised by a medical professional and helps the affected individual improve their overall health and well-being.
Those with severe symptoms of COPD need oxygen therapy to raise the depleted levels of oxygen in their blood. Patients receiving oxygen therapy will breathe in oxygen through a mask which will help prevent damage to internal organs and help increase alertness while improving sleeping patterns.
Reducing the Symptoms of COPD
The most effective way to reduce the symptoms of COPD and slow the progression of the disease is to keep the affected individual away from lung irritants. This means that those with COPD should avoid cigarette smoke, paint fumes, insecticides, and other potential irritants. Those affected should also stay indoors on days when the outdoor air quality is poor. Sticking to the prescribed medication and treatment regimens will also help keep the symptoms of COPD under control.
How Assisting Hands Home Care Can Help
Our licensed caregivers at Assisting Hands Home Care can help those with COPD in a number of ways. We will ensure that the environment within the home is free of potential lung irritants and ensure that they are properly taking their medication. We can also supervise oxygen treatments and ensure that their oxygen tanks are full enough for treatment.
Our caregivers will also help those affected with personal activities and chores around the house including meal preparation and housekeeping which may be difficult for them to do. Most importantly, our caregivers can respond immediately if there is an emergency.
If you or a loved one suffers from COPD in the Arlington Heights, Mount Prospect, Wheeling, IL or surrounding area and could use the assistance of a professional caregiver, contact Assisting Hands Home Care. We will work with you and your loved ones to develop a care plan that will best accommodate their condition and ensure that they are taking their treatments and medication.
You can reach us at (847) 462-4402 for more information about how we can help those with COPD.