Thursday, April 19, 2012

Signs of COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a condition that makes breathing difficult over time. This illness also causes wheezing, shortness of breath, copious amounts of mucus, and tightness in the chest. As a result, it is a very scary condition that many elderly individuals in Durham, North Carolina, must endure.

George’s mother, Valerie, is a life-long smoker who always seems to have a difficult time catching her breath. George thought it was due to her smoking habit, but lately it has gotten worse. After a bit of Internet research, he has pinpointed a few health conditions that may cause her symptoms. He thinks she might have COPD, so he has scheduled her a doctor’s appointment.
When considering COPD as a cause of your elderly loved one’s health condition, it is important to understand the signs of this illness. These symptoms include:

  • A constant cough that, oftentimes, results in a great deal of mucus being expelled from the body. This cough is generally referred to as “smoker’s cough.”
  • The inability to catch one’s breath. This is especially evident if your elderly loved one is generally active but now finds themselves having a difficult time keeping up.
  • Wheezing without any other apparent cause.
  • Tightness in the chest. If your elderly loved one experiences this symptom it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately, as it may be a sign of a heart attack.
COPD is a progressive illness, which means it gets worse over time. All of these symptoms, then, will become increasingly apparent as the condition worsens. If the following develop, seek the services of emergency medical professionals immediately:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Decline in mental focus
  • Blue or gray lips or fingernails
  • Difficulty catching one’s breath
George recognized the signs of COPD in his mother and, as a result, is getting her the care she needs. A progressive and life-threatening illness, COPD should be taken seriously and treated as quickly as possible. The third leading cause of death in the United States, this illness affects over 12 million people—many of whom are smokers or used to smoke.

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