COPD is a term used to refer to a group of chronic respiratory diseases including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Most people with COPD have a mix of both emphysema and bronchitis.
When you have COPD, the openings of the airways are smaller. Less air gets in because:
- The airway walls get thick and swollen due to persistent inflammation (also sometimes known as chronic bronchitis).
- The airways are squeezed by small muscles around them.
- The airways produce excessive mucus
COPD is not curable but can be treated by various drugs that address the factors above and by changes to life style such as giving up smoking, diet and exercise.
COPD in later stages is also treated through supplemental oxygen from a cylinder, in liquid for or through a mechanical device called a concentrator that extracts oxygen from the air.
Because COPD is chronic condition, patients can live for a long time, while the condition general gets worse over time.
Inability to breath obviously causes distress to the patient and interferes with physical activity, even in a patient who is physically strong in other ways.
Mobility aids such as walking aids or mobility scooters can be used to give patients as active a life as possible and patients can even travel overseas with the right support from airlines and caregivers.
Caregiving for a COPD patient is similar to care for other debilitating conditions in that it involves support for daily living, medication and for emotional as well as physical needs.
Please contact us to find out how our CAREGivers can help.