Checking for COPD in the Elderly During COPD Awareness Month

COPD Awareness in the Month of November

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This common disorder is often undiagnosed, meaning that millions of people have it and do not know. COPD is especially prominent in the elderly, and they are more prone to morbidity and mortality associated with it. Moreover, the physical and cognitive disabilities of seniors make it that much more difficult to keep up with medicine regimens. In this article, learn more about COPD and how Agility Health can help.

COPD Origins and Causes

COPD is frequently under- and misdiagnosed, especially in older populations. Because of this, elderly people may suffer from its symptoms without knowledge, thereby preventing effective treatment. COPD is a combination of emphysema and bronchitis, both of which are detrimental enough on their own. With COPD, the lung’s air sacs become weakened and limp, and inhaled air gets trapped in flexible sacs. In a normal lung, oxygen in an air sac is used by the body, converted to CO2, and then CO2 is exhaled from the air sac. In patients with COPD, this CO2 is consequently stuck in the lungs, causing damage. COPD may originate from cigarette smoking, air pollution, pipe and cigar smoking, or occupational dust and chemicals.

Common COPD Symptoms

It may be hard to diagnose COPD due to its symptoms, which often appear similar to the symptoms of other disorders. The most common effect of COPD is wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, and shortness of breath. All of these demonstrate the inability of air to move freely in and out of the lung. As it continues to manifest, symptoms of fatigue, loss of appetite, and weight loss may appear. The most serious indication of COPD is the inability to keep up with daily activities like bathing and dressing. When doing ordinary, non-strenuous tasks results in these symptoms, it’s urgent to contact a care provider.

Testing for COPD

When you head to the doctor, there’s no need to be scared. Testing for COPD is an easy and painless process. A medical professional will test for your FEV, which stands for forced expiratory volume. In other words, they’re checking to see how much air can be pushed out of your lungs versus how much is still trapped in damaged air sacs. Additionally, they’ll calculate your FEV1/FEV6, which is FEV at 1 second over FEV at 6 seconds. This looks at airflow over time, and, ultimately, airflow limitation. All of this information can be gathered by simply breathing into a tube!

Be on the Lookout for…

If you’re worried about a loved one that might have COPD, some signs to look out for are shortness of breath, increased mucus production, worsening cough, and increased wheezing. Fever, headaches, and dizziness are also less-obvious symptoms that may signal a problem worthy of attending the doctor for.

Agility Health COPD Care

At Agility Health, we offer a wide variety of services that make sure your loved one is in good hands. COPD patients may benefit from our skilled nursing care, which offers both medical and non-medical attention to help promote comfortable, healthy, and happy lives. For patients struggling with breathing and completing everyday activities, our in-home care helps with everything from bathing to housekeeping. For patients struggling to keep track of their COPD medications, our medication management nursing care provides reliable scheduling and administration. Additionally, all of our professionals are highly trained and know the warning signs of COPD! No matter how your loved one is experiencing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Agility Health is here to help.