Six Symptoms That Could Indicate COPD In Seniors

Posted on: 30 December 2014

Did you know that COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a leading cause of death among the elderly? The prevalence of this progressive lung disease increases with age. That means that seniors and those who provide senior care need to be aware of this condition to make sure that COPD treatment is administered when necessary.

What are some indicators of COPD? The following are six of the most common warning signs of this condition:

  1. Frequent coughing- While coughing is a normal response to excess mucus or inhaled irritants, too much coughing could indicate a serious underlying condition. Smoking increases a patient's risk of COPD, so a case of "smoker's cough" could indicate that a senior is suffering from the condition. 
  2. Excessive fatigue- Seniors who feel tired frequently and don't seem to have enough energy to carry out everyday tasks and activities could be suffering from COPD. Seniors who begin foregoing a previously enjoyed activity because of complaints of fatigue may be suffering with COPD.
  3. Shortness of breath- If a senior experiences shortness of breath without any physical exertion, there may be an underlying health problem. While shortness of breath can result from simply being overweight or out of shape, it can also be a symptom of conditions like COPD or emphysema.
  4. An increase in mucus production- Patients with COPD produce abnormally large amounts of mucus. Increased mucus production is caused by the lung's efforts to fight the condition and protect themselves. Treatment of COPD usually involves bronchodilator inhalers, inhaled steroids, or oral steroids that help keep airways open. 
  5. Wheezing- If a patient makes wheezing or squeaking noises when breathing, COPD could be the cause. Wheezing is a sign of constriction of the airways that can be caused by the inflammation that occurs in cases of COPD. It could also be a result of excess mucus production. 
  6. Tightness in the chest- Those who experience a tight feeling in their chests could be suffering from COPD. Factors such as inflammation, irritation from inhaled irritants, and mucus production could combine to cause discomfort in the chest. 

Seniors who suffer from COPD are usually treated by a pulmonologist or respiratory therapist. A primary care physician will probably recommend that patients see a specialist if they are exhibiting several symptoms from the list above.

With COPD, the earlier a patient is diagnosed and begins treatment, the better that patient's prognosis will be. That means early detection is of vital importance. Talk to a company like Above And Beyond if you need in-home care for someone with COPD.