Hillendale Home Care understands that sometimes, being diagnosed when struggling with debilitating symptoms can be a relief. Finally, there’s a name for the condition, and a plan to treat it! COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is certainly one of those conditions that can be improved with a definitive diagnosis. If your senior loved one has been suffering with chronic coughing, wheezing, and fatigue, a diagnosis of COPD may actually be the first step in improving her quality of life.
In diagnosing COPD, the doctor may:
- Assess the senior’s health and environment, to include smoking, exposure to pollutants, symptoms, and family health history
- Administer tests such as spirometry (breathing into a machine to check lung functioning), x-rays and blood work
- Create a treatment plan
Because COPD symptoms can vary widely between patients, treatment plans may also differ from one person to the next. Here are some of the ways the doctor may try to help your senior loved one best manage her COPD:
- Medications, to include any of the following:
- Bronchodilators taken through an inhaler to help open airways, available in both short-term and long-term formulations, to work immediately as needed or to be taken ongoing for maintenance
- Steroids and corticosteroids work to reduce inflammation, swelling and mucous production
- Antibiotics to address any bacterial infections in the lungs
- Immunizations to protect against flu and pneumonia, as those with COPD are at a greater risk for complications from these illnesses
- Pulmonary therapy works to strengthen the lungs through guided exercise and nutrition.
- Oxygen therapy, available through liquid or gas oxygen tanks or oxygen concentrators that utilize the oxygen already in the environment.
- Lung surgery may be an option if symptoms are extremely severe.
- Palliative care focuses treatment on improving quality of life, and is available to anyone diagnosed with COPD, regardless of the prognosis or stage of the disease.
- Clinical trials help researchers determine the success of new, experimental treatments, regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Talk with your senior loved one’s physician to see if clinical trials are an option, and check the American Lung Association’s clinical trial search page for opportunities near you.
No matter what the doctor recommends to help your senior loved one manage COPD, Hillendale Home Care can help by providing professional in-home care that eases COPD symptoms and enhances quality of life for seniors. The senior may be in need of respectful assistance with personal care tasks like bathing and dressing, help with housework, meals, transportation and running errands, or just a kind, caring companion to talk to and engage in enjoyable activities together. Whatever the need, our fully trained and experienced caregivers are here for you. Contact us at 925-933-8181 to learn more.