Getting Help For Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Constant mucus productions
Chest tightness as the airway linings become thick
Wheezing and an irritating cough
Breathlessness due to hampered airflow
Scarring in the lungs
Lack of energy
Blueness in the fingertips and nails
Emphysema is when the air sacs at the ends of the smallest air passages are destroyed over time. Of course, the most common cause of Emphysema is cigarette smoking. Over time, the lining of the walls of the lungs is destroyed thus reducing oxygen to the bloodstream. It also destroys the elastic ability of the openings to the small airways. Basically, air goes in but can’t get out very well. Symptoms can include:
Severe shortness of breath (you can’t talk) – Usually it starts during physical activities. As you begin to avoid these activities, the issue gets worse and the symptoms continue to worsen until you experience shortness of breath even when resting.
Fingernails and tips of finger turn blue or gray from lack of circulation.
Your mental alertness fades due to lack of oxygen to the brain.
Your heart has to work extra hard, so it beats faster.
It is highly recommended that patients with COPD obtain care to help manage their illness. Why? Because COPD is tricky to treat. Patients can go months in a stable condition. Then they sometimes experience rocky episodes called exacerbations. This is where very unexpectedly the symptoms can worsen for a period of days or sometimes longer. During this time, respiratory failure may occur and last-minute decisions regarding medical support need to be made fast. COPD is highly unpredictable.
COPD is often very stressful for those with the disease and their family caregivers. Individuals with COPD frequently experience difficult and uncomfortable symptoms that are difficult for them to manage alone. They struggle coping with their debilitating shortness of breath as well as their dependency on oxygen. They also face the stress of frequent hospitalizations. In fact, over half of patients with COPD are readmitted to the hospital within twelve months.
Hospice Care of the Southwest can help. With our strong interdisciplinary approach, can greatly improve quality of life for people with COPD. Our specialized teams of caregivers are uniquely trained in the management of COPD. By providing services to control symptoms and reduce anxiety and stress, we can help make this difficult time easier and help families facing COPD return to living as fully as possible.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is responsible for one death every four minutes in the US. In Texas, COPD was responsible for 171,936 hospitalizations between 2005-2010. The Mayo Clinic ranks it at number five on the list of fatal diseases. So what is COPD? It encompasses diseases that block the airflow to and from the lungs and make breathing difficult. The damage done to the lungs that causes COPD is irreversible. Symptoms can be controlled and further damage stopped, but it cannot be repaired. The unfortunate thing is that symptoms do not usually appear until damage is significant. The most common are chronic bronchitis or emphysema.
Chronic bronchitis is when the airways or bronchial tubes become inflamed. This causes difficulty with breathing and the production of heavy mucus or phlegm. It may just look like a chronic cough at first. However, if the mucus-producing cough is present most days of the month and if it is present three months or more during a two-year period, it is considered chronic. Symptoms include: