The Difficulties of Identifying and Managing COPD

Interim HealthCare Blogs
Posted: 1/25/2018 1:03 PM by Interim HealthCare
The Difficulties of Identifying and Managing COPD

COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is the term used to describe progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis.

Many adults suffering from COPD do not know they are suffering and neglected getting treatment. Most people just assume it is part of getting old or due to bad habits like smoking. This is a big problem because the longer COPD is not treated the more irreversible damage is done.
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.

Signs and Symptoms
  • Increased breathlessness
  • Frequent coughing (with and without sputum)
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
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 and managing the most commonly undiagnosed lung diseases.