Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common illness among seniors. Despite its prevalence, there are steps your elderly loved one can take to prevent the development of this serious condition. Scottsdale elder care professionals discuss a few of these preventive measures.
Avoiding cigarettes is one of the best ways for your loved one to prevent COPD. Smoking and secondhand smoke have been responsible for a large percentage of COPD-related deaths over the years. The smoke damages the air sacs, linings, and airways of the lungs, which can make it difficult for your loved one to breathe.
Limit Exposure to Indoor Air Pollution
The lung irritants found inside of your loved one’s home could lead to COPD. Indoor air pollution will damage the walls between your loved one’s air sacs over time. If your loved one is going to paint the home or have the property sprayed for insects and rodents, be sure he or she is not at home that day. To be safe, your loved one should stay away from the house for a few days to let these types of lung irritants fade away.
Your loved one should be tested for COPD, especially if he or she has a chronic cough, excessive mucus, or constant wheezing. A doctor can give your loved one a simple breathing test known as spirometry, which is not only necessary for seniors who have a shortness of breath after small amounts of physical activity, but it is also good for former smokers. Keep in mind COPD is partially reversible, which means it’s important to have your loved one tested for the disease for prevention and to slow the progression of the illness as well.
Be Aware of Family History
There is a genetic component that increases a senior’s risk of COPD. If your loved one is aware of this factor, he or she can avoid some of the habits or conditions that cause COPD. Seniors with the gene for this disease can get COPD without smoking. COPD is the fourth largest cause of death among seniors each year. If your loved one has the gene, you need to know so you can do everything possible to help him or her prevent the disease from developing or progressing.
For more information on preventing COPD and other serious health conditions, reach out to Home Care Assistance. In addition to our high-quality respite and live-in care, we also offer comprehensive Parkinson’s, stroke, and dementia care Scottsdale families trust. To learn more about how our in-home care services can enhance your loved one’s quality of life, call 480.448.6215 today.