If you’re caring for a senior loved one with lung disease, it’s important to understand the various types of lung ailments and the most common treatments for each one. Many lung ailments can be treated successfully, especially if treatment starts early. Encourage your loved one to see the doctor on a regular basis to prevent the following common lung illnesses.
1. Bronchial Asthma
Environmental stimuli can cause a senior’s airway to become hyper-reactive. When this occurs, doctors often diagnose it as bronchial asthma. The most common treatment is steroid medication, although there are other options available for seniors who cannot take steroids.
2. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
The medical community lumps several lung conditions together under the umbrella of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which is often shortened to COPD. These diseases include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and bronchiectasis. Seniors who have COPD typically experience wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest. Rescue inhalers and inhaled steroids are the most common treatments for COPD.
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3. Community-Acquired Pneumonia
Community-acquired pneumonia is a bacterial infection that’s common among seniors. Most seniors should get pneumonia vaccinations every year to prevent getting community-acquired pneumonia. This infection can usually be treated with antibiotics, but if it isn’t caught early, your loved one may need to be hospitalized.
4. Pulmonary Embolism
A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot blocks one or more arteries in the lungs. A senior with a pulmonary embolism may feel a sudden shortness of breath and chest pain similar to a heart attack. These blood clots often start out in the legs before lodging themselves in the lungs. Seniors who have sudden-onset chest pain may be experiencing pulmonary embolisms. Blood thinners or invasive procedures may break up the clots, and treatment needs to begin as soon as possible.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional elder care. Fort Worth families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.
5. Sleep-Disordered Breathing
Sleep-disordered breathing causes symptoms that can vary in severity, from slight daytime sleepiness to the need for frequent naps throughout the day. Conservative treatment may focus on alleviating allergies, but extreme cases may require surgery. Sleep-disordered breathing is often accompanied by sleep apnea, which is divided into two types. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a senior’s airway closes but he or she continues to try to breathe. Central sleep apnea often starts after a medical event affects the brain. Seniors can experience a combination of both types.
6. Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers in America. Doctors can choose from a range of treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Since this disease shows no symptoms in the beginning, it’s often well advanced before diagnosis occurs, making treatment more difficult. While some doctors may be reluctant to start treatment for lung cancer in elderly people, when treatment is begun in the disease’s early stages, the chance of a positive outcome can be as high as it is for younger people.
Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Fort Worth seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. To hire a compassionate, dedicated caregiver, call us at (817) 720-5556 today.