If your senior is experiencing shortness of breath more often, is coughing a lot, or seems to be getting sick more often, you might have started to wonder if she has COPD. COPD is a chronic and progressive lung disease that can take a tremendous toll on her body and on her ability to continue to live her life the way that she wants.
Smoking is incredibly common amongst people who have COPD, but it’s not a guarantee that your elderly family member will develop COPD if she smokes. Regardless, smoking can cause a host of other problems for her and it’s important to encourage her to stop sooner rather than later. Working with her doctor can give your senior solutions for smoking cessation that she might not have considered otherwise.
Avoid Explaining Symptoms Away
Both you and your senior might be tempted to explain symptoms away, especially if there’s a situation that already makes sense. For instance, a history of smoking or a recent illness could explain shortness of breath. But if that doesn’t go away when your senior changes certain variables or after she heals, that’s a sign of bigger problems. It’s particularly important that you don’t explain away symptoms if your senior is a woman, because COPD is typically underdiagnosed in women.
Ask for Lung Function Testing
Lung function testing is a lot simpler than most people think. It involves spirometry, which is really just blowing into a tube and having those results measured by a computer. The test takes only a few minutes and can give your senior’s doctor a wealth of information about how her lungs are operating and whether COPD could be the culprit behind her breathing issues.
Consider Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Pulmonary rehabilitation is a combination of exercise and breathing tools that help your elderly family member to strengthen both her heart and her lungs. Pulmonary rehab might be a temporary treatment that your senior’s doctor recommends in order to get her started on some healthy habits that can serve her well for a long time to come.
If you suspect that your elderly family member is dealing with COPD, it’s important to get a diagnosis as quickly as possible. From there you can find other solutions for her that can help immensely, like hiring Home care services providers. Home care services providers can take over tasks that have become difficult or complicated for your senior, allowing her to conserve her energy for the activities that matter.