At times, learning of a conclusive diagnosis for debilitating symptoms can be a relief. Finally, there’s a specific reason for the condition, and you can begin the plan to treat it! This is certainly the case for COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). If your senior loved one has been fighting symptoms like chronic coughing, wheezing, and fatigue, a diagnosis of COPD could be essential in improving her quality of life.
Here’s what you can expect from the doctor in diagnosing COPD:
- 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 COPD can present differently from person to person, treatment plans can vary widely. Here are some of the ways your senior loved one’s physician may try 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.
Regardless of what the doctor recommends to help your senior loved one best manage COPD, Heaven at Home Senior Care in Denton, TX, can help with professional in-home care to enhance quality of life. Whether the senior needs assistance with personal care needs like bathing and dressing, help with housecleaning, meals, transportation and running errands, or just a kind, caring friend to talk with and enjoy favorite activities together, our trained and experienced caregivers are here for you. Call us at 866.381.0500 to learn more or contact us online.