Researchers estimate that millions of elderly Americans have a lung disease known as emphysema. It is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, with no cure and very serious symptoms. When elderly adults have emphysema, there’s a big learning curve to figure out the best way to proceed for treatment and also on how to live with the disease.
Family caregivers should take the lead on getting the best treatment possible and also hiring senior care providers for in-home care. But first, they need to recognize the symptoms of this respiratory disease.
Causes and Symptoms of Emphysema
The lungs are filled with tiny air sacs that fill and empty repeatedly It’s the valuable exchange point where oxygen is taken from the air and infused into the bloodstream to be delivered throughout the body. With emphysema, those air sacs are damaged and don’t do an efficient job. This leaves the person short of breath and the body and organs as oxygen-deprived.
Causes of emphysema are primarily due to cigarette smoking, but other contributors are secondhand smoke, air pollution, repeated exposure to dust and airborne chemicals and severe asthma. Other risk factors include a history of lung disease in the family or an overabundance of respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
Family caregivers should learn to recognize the symptoms of emphysema, and the most common signs are chronic coughing and wheezing. Other common symptoms include shortness of breath even when at rest, fatigue, bluish lips and nail beds, and excessive mucus production. Aging adults may think they have a cold or viral infection, but emphysema doesn’t go away. If family caregivers notice their aging loved one always seems to have a cough, they should contact the doctor soon.
Treating Emphysema and Helping Seniors Cope
After a series of examinations and breathing tests, the doctor will diagnose emphysema and prescribe medicine to help control the coughing. They will also talk about lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising as appropriate and quitting smoking. Doctors will recommend a respiratory therapist as well. The therapist will teach the aging adult some breathing exercises that can help and administer breathing treatments. Managing emphysema symptoms is challenging, and the aging adult will need all the help they can get.
One source of help could come from senior care providers. These professionals are hired to come to the aging adult’s home and assist with daily tasks like housekeeping, cleaning the bathrooms, doing laundry and driving them to appointments. Senior care providers can also be companions to the aging adult should they try to do something on their own and then need help. While emphysema will never disappear, it can be well-managed with good treatment and help from a senior care provider.
If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Senior Care in St. Petersburg, FL, Please Contact The Caring Staff At Assisting Hands Home Care Today! 727-748-4211.