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How to care for elderly with emphysema
Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. Where the air sacs in the lungs have damage. In this case, your loved one will have shortness of breath. Emphysema severely affects the quality of life of our loved one. As the disease progresses, the lungs become increasingly damaged, making breathing extremely difficult for the affected elderly.
Emphysema is a lung disease that primarily occurs due to damaged alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs. Eventually, the inner walls of the air sacs rupture and weaken. This causes large air spaces, instead of several small ones. As a result of this, the surface area of the lungs reduces, which also causes a drastic reduction in the amount of oxygen that reaches the lungs. And all these things put together leads to shortness of breath.
When our elderly with emphysema try to exhale. The air sacs that have damage are unable to carry out their normal function. As a result of which, the air which your loved ones inhale is trap inside, leaving little to no room for fresh air to enter. Many elderly with emphysema are also susceptible to develop chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis presents with a persistent cough that occurs due to damaged bronchial tubes. The damage that occurs in the lungs is irreversible, making the conditions non-curable. However, with proper treatment methods and certain lifestyle change. There are higher chances of effectively arresting the disease progression.
Symptoms of emphysema
Many individuals develop emphysema, and they don’t even know about it. Until the symptoms begin interfering with their daily activities and tasks. A persistent cough along with shortness of breath marks the onset of emphysema. However, these symptoms can also occur due to other conditions. And therefore, a proper diagnosis is necessary to arrive at any conclusion. Shortness of breath and cough usually occurs during exercise or any activity that requires physical exertion. If steps are not taken to treat the condition, then shortness of breath continues to worsen. To the extent that our elderly experience it even while resting.
- Weight loss
- Increased heart rate
- When you are not mentally alert
- When your lips or fingernails turn blue or gray with exertion
It is very necessary to make life comfortable for our seniors. Taking medications on time. And religiously following all the treatment methods suggested by the doctor. This can go a long way in effectively managing the condition. There is no cure for Emphysema. However, the disease can be effectively managed with appropriate treatment options.
How to Diagnosis Emphysema
- Chest x-ray
- Laboratory blood test
- Lung function test
Medications & therapy that help
- Breathing exercises
- Lose weight & proper nutrition
Managing emphysema in elderly patients
Emphysema is a progressive disease. Which can make the entire life of our loved one pretty difficult. Taking care of an elderly with emphysema can be a challenging task for the caregiver. The lungs are severely affected by this condition, making breathing – the basic necessity of life very difficult. Here are some tips that can help you take better care of your elderly with emphysema.
Emphysema causes shortness of breath and interferes with daily activities.
Therefore, as a caregiver, you can help your elderly with the daily tasks that may otherwise be a cause of great exertion for them.
Eating may seem to be a mammoth task for your loved ones.
Therefore, you need to ask your elderly to rest for at least an hour after eating. So that their bodies can get sufficient time to utilize the energy spent on digesting the food.
Anxiety becomes a common problem for elderly.
You should ask your loved one to relax, and encourage them to practice visual relaxation techniques. This can go a long way in reducing their anxiety levels.
A regular visit to the doctor is a must.
Make sure you do not allow your loved one to miss a single appointment. Go with them to the doctor and clarify your concerns. Furthermore, if in any situation you find your loved one is not comfortable or the symptoms are worsening. Then it is best to seek medical attention at the earliest time possible.
Exercise is one of the best ways to preserve as well as improve lung strength and capacity.
Therefore, You should encourage your elderly to practice mild exercises daily. This will not only improve their lung health but would also go a long way in improving their mood levels as well. You can always talk to their doctor about the exercises that are best for your elderly with emphysema. According to the American Thoracic Society, walking is one of the best exercises for elderly with lung problems.
Assist your loved one to follow their treatment methods.
Along with taking medications regularly, the doctor may also suggest certain changes in their lifestyle and dietary pattern.
Smoking is one of the biggest causes in the development of emphysema.
Therefore, if your loved one is trying to quit smoking. It is essential for you to stand by them during this crucial period.
Safeguarding the lungs against irritants.
Avoid household products with strong odors, fabric conditioners with odors should. Clean air filters as often as possible.
Get your elderly vaccinated against flu every year.
This will help prevent respiratory infections from developing. And thereby safeguard your elderly from a variety of infections.
Protect your loved one from cold elements
Cold air can cause spasms of the bronchial passages, making it even more difficult to breathe. During cold weather, wear a soft scarf or a cold-air mask over your mouth and nose before going outside. This will help to warm the air entering your lungs.
When your loved ones have emphysema, they are also more likely to develop:
A collapsed lung can be life-threatening to your loved one who has severe emphysema because the function of their lungs is already so compromised. This is uncommon but serious when it occurs.
Emphysema can increase the pressure in the arteries that connect the heart and lungs. This will cause a section of the heart expands and weakens.
Large holes in the lungs
Some people with emphysema develop empty spaces in the lungs. They can be as large as half the lung. In addition, it reduces the amount of space available for the lung to expand.
Emphysema is a progressive disease that has no cure. However, with various therapies, medications and lifestyle changes. The progression can slow down to a great extent. Diagnosing the disease on time is essential in effectively managing the condition. Caring for your loved one with emphysema is a challenging task, while shortness of breath takes more than half of the energy away. It is also a grave source of stress and anxiety for our seniors. The above-mentioned tips can help you to take better care of your loved one fighting emphysema. For more information, check out this site. Also, check out this past post on COPD https://theultimatecaregivingexpert.com/2017/06/20/care-chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease/
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