It impacts tens of millions of Americans, for a variety of reasons, but smoking and long-term chemical exposure are the top causes. And many simply struggle with the symptoms without even realizing there’s an official diagnosis for the breathing problems they’re facing. COPD, while currently without a cure, can be treated to ease symptoms, reduce the risk of developing further complications, and enhancing quality of life.
COPD can be broken down into four typical stages, although each person encounters the disease uniquely. Understanding these four stages and reviewing the particular symptoms and concerns your loved one is experiencing with the physician is a good starting point. Nightingale Homecare’s Arizona home health care professionals share helpful information on what to expect in each stage of the disease:
- Mild (Stage 1): A chronic cough and an increase in mucous produced are often the first symptoms noted – and for some people in this stage, they aren’t bothersome enough to be very noticeable or to warrant a visit with the doctor.
- Moderate (Stage 2): During this stage, COPD patients begin to struggle with shortness of breath, in addition to the continuing cough and mucous production. Symptoms are more troubling, and the doctor may prescribe a long-acting bronchodilator to help.
- Severe (Stage 3): Frequency of symptoms is increased in this stage, as well as severity. Normal day-to-day functioning may become compromised at this point, and additional treatment methods may be employed by the doctor, such as oxygen therapy, corticosteroids, or other medications.
- Very Severe (Stage 4): Symptoms continue to increase in both frequency and severity, and surgery may be considered. There is also an increased risk for serious health complications during this stage, such as heart and blood pressure problems, pneumonia, and lung cancer.
Depression is also a common risk factor in those with COPD, so it’s important to share any and all concerns – physical and emotional – with the senior’s medical team.
You can also call on the skilled medical care professionals at Nightingale Homecare for assistance. Our registered nurses and caregiving staff are available to help with all necessary care needs for those with COPD, from oxygen therapy, inhalation treatments, ventilator management and care, and other skilled care services, to compassionate companionship to engage in conversations, share in enjoyable activities together, and help with meals, housework – and everything in between. And, our Pathlink chronic disease management program helps those with conditions such as COPD learn a variety of innovative techniques to better manage their disease and improve their overall quality of life.
You can reach us at (602) 504-1555 any time with questions, to request additional COPD resources, and to learn more about our Arizona home health care for seniors.