Senior Health Issues Such As Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is an incurable condition that causes a decline in lung function.
It’s characterized by restricted airflow, coughing, and difficulty doing tasks that were formerly easy, such as climbing a few stairs or bringing groceries into the house. COPD is a dangerous senior health issue because it gets worse over time. And it can cause pulmonary embolisms, heart failure, and lung failure.
So it’s important to know the warning signs of COPD and who is at risk for it.
Risk Factors For Senior Health Issues of COPD
The most important risk factor for acquiring COPD is smoking. According to the COPD Foundation, even smoking as few as one hundred cigarettes over the course of a lifetime increases the risks of COPD.
And the lungs don’t differentiate that much between smoking and pulling in secondhand smoke. Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke is also a serious risk for COPD. People who at one time or another heated their homes or cooked inside with coal or wood are also at risk of lung damage from environmental irritants.
But outdoor environmental factors play a part also. If your father or mother was exposed to a good deal of air pollution from living in a high traffic neighborhood or near a polluting industry, he or she is also at risk for Senior Health Issues like COPD.
The first warning signs of COPD are:
- Chronic cough
- Sputum from coughing
- Shortness of breath that persists for four weeks or longer
- Reducing activity because of shortness of breath
Though only a doctor can diagnose COPD, the COPD Foundation offers an online screening tool that a parent can use to decide whether to consult a doctor. This online quiz asks questions about recent activity, smoking history, age, and all their senior health issues.
A diagnosis of COPD will begin with a doctor’s questions and then, perhaps, move on to a test called spirometry. During this painless test, patients are asked to pull in as much air as they can in one breath.
Medical technicians measure how much air the patient is able to take in, then compare that to the patient’s peers. If the amount of air the patient can absorb is typical for his or her age and height, COPD can be ruled out. However, if the amount of air is substantially less than normal, COPD will be suspected.
A senior suspected of COPD will do well to have an advocate at the clinic and doctor’s office. Because of hearing loss and sometimes loss of cognitive function, patients can have difficulty navigating the diagnosis process.
Home care professionals can accompany your mother or father to the medical experts who can determine what, if any, underlying health conditions exist. These home care aides are a valuable second set of ears. They can sometimes help patients with senior health issues, understand and answer questions, and they can make sure that the patient understands what is required during the test.
In conclusion, a diagnosis of COPD is not something anyone looks forward to. But, like everything else, it is better to know about these senior health issues so they can start treatments and lifestyle modifications that will make the patient’s life easier, right away.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Care Services in Camp Hill, AL, please contact the caring staff at Prime Home Health today. Caring for Our Friends and Neighbors in Tallapoosa, Chambers, Lee, Macon, and Russell Counties! Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! 334.745.7966