One type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that is very common in elderly adults is emphysema. This lung disease seriously affects the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to the organs in the body, leading to further health complications. The result is an elderly person with little strength or stamina to complete basic tasks and live independently. Family caregivers with an elderly relative that has emphysema must work with the doctor to plan out the best treatments and living situation for the aging adult to keep the symptoms under control.
Emphysema is a misunderstood disease with many myths surrounding it. Whether an elderly adult has recently been diagnosed or family caregivers simply want to know more about what to watch for in their high-risk relative, education and awareness are important. It’s a good idea for family caregivers and their aging loved ones to learn a little about it. Here are some important facts that everyone should know about emphysema.
Fact #1: Emphysema Isn’t Just a Smoker’s Disease.
Many people mistakenly think that only smokers can develop emphysema. While cigarettes are the leading cause of this lung disease, it can also happen to people who have never smoked. It is caused by years of stress on the lungs from things like cigarette smoke, secondhand smoke, dust, severe asthma, and chronic lung infections.
Fact #2: Emphysema Symptoms are Similar to Other Lung Conditions.
It may be difficult for family caregivers and their elderly loved ones to distinguish between emphysema and other respiratory illnesses. That’s why it’s so important to get seniors into a doctor anytime they have coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue, and a blue tint to the lips and fingernail beds. Even viral or bacterial lung infections can worsen emphysema if they are not treated early and properly, so medical attention is a must.
Fact #3: There is No Cure for Emphysema.
Doctors cannot reverse the damage to the air sacs in the lungs, but proper treatment can help ease the symptoms and possibly prevent further damage. They will prescribe medication to decrease coughing and wheezing and recommend a healthy diet and plenty of rest. Seniors should also avoid triggers for flare-ups such as smoking, stress and pollution. Physical exertion can also aggravate emphysema symptoms.
Fact #4: Seniors with Emphysema Shouldn’t Live Alone.
It is very difficult for seniors with emphysema to live alone because they will most likely struggle with their everyday duties such as housekeeping, cooking, laundry, and more. Many families hire senior care providers to give in-home care and take over many of these day-to-day chores. Senior care providers can also provide companionship to aging adults that have emphysema and may not get out as much as they’d like. When an aging adult cannot take care of themselves due to emphysema, a senior care provider is an excellent option.
If you or an aging loved one needs senior care in Davis, CA, remember Senior Home Care Services. Call us at (916) 514-7006 for more information.