You may not realize that around 24 million adults across the United States are effected by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. COPD is also one of the leaders for hospitalization in the United States. A recent survey done by the COPD Foundation found some even more shocking results: most sufferers and survivors of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are unfamiliar with the symptoms. This is even in spite of physicians telling their patients the many signs and symptoms of COPD.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can often be confused for asthma. COPD is mainly recognized by inflammation to the lungs, airway, and to blood vessels. Overtime, breathing and airflow to the lungs can greatly decrease if symptoms are not understood and treated. People with certain health risks, especially smokers, are more prone to developing COPD.
Unfortunately, COPD is a disease that can make a patient suffer for years before any treatment is undertaken, or before the disease is even recognized. According to the survey by the COPD Foundation, it took patients around two years and nine months to get the correct diagnosis by a physician! That is close to three years of irreversible damage to the lungs, airways, and blood vessels. What’s worse is that unless COPD is caught early, the symptoms and pain will worsen over time.
COPD is not an easy disease to recognize either. Things like symptoms and their effects all display differently in each patient. Some patients may even downplay the amount of pain they are in or lie about how they feel to avoid another visit to the hospital.
The truth is that the best advocate for identifying COPD early is often caregivers and those that provide meaningful care for older adults and seniors. Caregivers should be mindful for things like a persistent cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing. If COPD is suspected, patients can have a simple lung function test to determine if they have COPD.
Despite an increase of health issues for older adults and seniors, family caregivers can help play an active role in identifying of the most commonly undiagnosed lung diseases.
Home health care
is a great choice to call when you need some medical care at home for your elderly loved one. With a doctor’s prescription, you may qualify for insurance coverage for the costs. A qualified registered nurse (RN) or nurse’s aide can tend to the medical needs of your senior family member in the comfort and familiar surroundings of their own home.
If you have an aging loved one and are considering home care services, contact Interim HealthCare today.