Struggling with debilitating symptoms can be so difficult that finally receiving a definitive diagnosis can bring a sense of relief. Now that there’s a name for the condition, a plan can be put into place to treat it! This is certainly the case with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). If your senior loved one has been inundated with chronic coughing, wheezing, and fatigue, being diagnosed with COPD might be the first step in improving his or her quality of life.
In order to diagnose and treat COPD, the doctor will likely perform the following:
- Assessment of the senior’s health and environment, to include smoking, exposure to pollutants, symptoms, and family health history
- Testing such as spirometry (breathing into a machine to check lung functioning), x-rays and blood work
- Creation of a treatment plan
Since the signs of COPD can be different from person to person, treatment plans can also differ. Here are some of the ways your senior loved one’s physician might implement to help her best manage the disease:
- 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’s recommended course of action is to help your senior loved one best manage COPD, Regency Home Care can help by providing professional caregivers in Atlanta to improve quality of life. Whether the need is for assistance with attention to dignity in completing personal care tasks like bathing and dressing, help with housecleaning, meals, transportation and running errands, or just the compassion of a kind, caring friend to talk to and enjoy activities together, our extensively trained and experienced caregivers are here for you. Contact us at 678.999.2446 to learn more.