Respiratory Care Week takes place during the final week of October. Respiratory care is important at any age. As your parents get older, they may be dealing with some of the more common respiratory conditions that come with aging. Learn more about some of these respiratory conditions and the things you can do to help out.
The airways in someone with asthma become inflamed and swell, which makes it hard to get a breath. Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, and a hacking, dry cough. It’s usually the result of an allergen or high air pollution levels.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is the general term used to categorize diseases that cause shortness of breath and a cough that may produce a good deal of mucus. Two of the most common types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Chronic bronchitis’s main symptom is a cough that usually brings up mucus. It’s often worse in the morning after laying down for hours. Emphysema is usually tied to smoking. It’s a disease that makes it hard to expel air when breathing out. Oxygen is often needed with emphysema, and those who smoke need to stop.
Smoking is a leading cause of lung cancer, but exposure to asbestos, diesel, pollutants in the air, and radon are other causes. If your parents smoke, they can lower their risk by stopping. Testing the home for radon is another important step to take.
Talk to their doctor about a chest x-ray. It’s not always recommended, but heavy smokers may find their doctor advises this quick test after a certain age. The earlier the disease is caught, the easier it can be to fight it.
Pneumonia occurs when bacterial, fungal, or viral infections get into the lungs. The infection affects the air sacs and causes symptoms like severe cough, fever, difficulty breathing, and chills. If your parents have had the flu or a chest cold that seems to be getting worse, call their doctor.
The pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine is important from the age of 65. It’s also important for your parents to avoid getting the flu by getting the yearly flu shot, washing hands often, and avoiding people who are or could be sick.
When a respiratory condition is diagnosed, your family needs to make sure your parents have the support they need at home. Elder care services is a good place to start. Hire elder care aides to help with housework, meals, transportation, and more. It gives your parents the support they need to focus on managing their respiratory conditions.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Care in Northbrook, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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