How COPD Is Diagnosed and Treated – and How Senior Care in Chicago, IL Can Help

There are times when, after struggling with debilitating symptoms, receiving a definitive diagnosis can actually be a relief. Finally, there’s a name for the condition, and a course of action to treat it! This is certainly the case for those diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). If your Chicago, IL senior loved one has suffered with chronic coughing, wheezing, and fatigue, a COPD diagnosis could be the first step in improving her quality of life.

Here’s what you can expect from the senior’s doctor to diagnose 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

COPD symptoms often vary widely from one person to another, and as such, treatment plans can differ as well. Here are some of the treatments the doctor may want your loved one to 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.

No matter what the doctor recommends to help your senior loved one manage COPD, Home & Hearth Caregivers can help with professional Chicago IL senior care that can enhance quality of life. If the senior needs assistance with personal care tasks like bathing and dressing, help with housework, meals, transportation and running errands, or just a compassionate, caring friend to talk with and share in favorite activities together, our fully trained and experienced Chicago caregivers are here for you. Contact us at 800-349-0663 to learn more about our professional home care for seniors.

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