With well over 11 million men and women in America alone presently diagnosed with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), we at Enhanced Home Care understand firsthand the complexities and struggles linked with the airflow restrictions – and as a result, the lifestyle restrictions – that seniors with the disease face every day. It’s important for us as caregivers, and for family members who are also providing care, to have an understanding of what to expect in each stage of this progressive disease, and how to support those with COPD effectively manage their condition and live life to their fullest potential.
As the top caregivers Kansas City families rely on for in-home care as well as educational resources, we have outlined the four stages of COPD below for your understanding, in conjunction with the guidelines from the Lung Institute on steps you should take to ensure your senior loved one continues to be as healthy as possible.
Stage 1: Mild COPD
For the duration of this phase, it might not even be noticeable that there is a problem apart from living with some coughing and mucus, and minor breathing limitations when performing everyday tasks. While the symptoms may feel minor, it’s important for the individual to see the physician as soon as possible, so that if a COPD diagnosis is confirmed, a treatment plan can be established. The health care provider may prescribe medications as well as lifestyle changes – especially quitting smoking, following a healthy diet plan, and exercising. Alternative treatment suggestions, such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, and cellular therapy, might also be tried.
Stage 2: Moderate COPD
In moderate COPD, coughing and mucus are increased, while airflow becomes more constricted. Lung capacity in this stage has fallen to anywhere between 50 and 79%, and physical activity renders the person feeling out of breath. Medications will likely need to be altered during this stage, and pulmonary rehabilitation could also be suggested by the doctor, helping the person improve breathing functionality.
Stage 3: Severe COPD
When a senior reaches the severe stage of COPD, problems will have escalated and significant impairment of lung function is encountered. Lethargy and breathlessness increase, making it difficult for the person to continue to be active, and regular medical appointments may be needed. Further pulmonary screenings will help the medical professionals monitor the development of the disease and to incorporate additional treatment options to enhance quality of life, such as oxygen, inhalers, and bronchodilators.
Stage 4: End-Stage COPD
In the end stage of COPD, lung functionality has diminished to 30% or lower, and oxygen therapy will be needed. Simple activities of daily living become daunting or impossible to complete without exhaustion and breathlessness. The health care provider will want to keep a close eye on the individual throughout this stage, adapting the treatment plan to help the senior maintain the highest possible quality of life. Exercises such as tai chi or yoga could be encouraged to help the person stay active while remaining comfortable.
One of the best ways to help seniors with COPD, and the families who care for them, is by working with a professional home care agency, such as Enhanced Home Care. Providing the highly skilled and experienced caregivers Kansas City families need, we assist those with COPD by:
- Preparing nutritious meals per any dietary restrictions
- Providing safe, accompanied transportation to medical appointments and procedures
- Helping seniors engage in physician-approved exercise programs
- Maintaining a clean home environment
- Providing friendly, caring companionship
- And so much more
Contact us any time at 913-327-0000 to learn more.