Emphysema is an extremely common condition among elderly people, so it’s important to take active steps to prevent this serious medical issue. While it might seem like an inconvenience, untreated emphysema can lead to many secondary complications, including pulmonary infections, chronic bronchitis, and respiratory failure. Here are a few simple ways seniors can reduce their risk of emphysema.
1. Stop Using Tobacco Products
According to the World Health Organization, around 90 percent of all emphysema cases are caused by smoking cigarettes, cigars, and other tobacco products. Within just a few days of giving up smoking, many people notice a sharp decrease in the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which include coughing, fatigue, and tightness in the chest. There are now many different treatment options for those who are considering quitting smoking, including patches, shots, pills, and gels.
A professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of encouragement when your loved one is trying to practice healthier habits. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional homecare services. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
2. Steer Clear of Secondhand Smoke
Secondhand smoke is extremely unhealthy, and the carcinogens in the smoke can linger in fabric for weeks. This type of smoke is especially dangerous in enclosed areas such as bedrooms and cars. Seniors at risk of developing emphysema should ask their friends and family members to avoid smoking around them as much as possible. Your loved one should also try to avoid locations that allow smoking indoors, such as casinos and bars.
3. Invest in a Portable Air Filter
A high-quality air filter can remove nearly 99.9 percent of all contaminants from the air, including the toxins that can cause emphysema. These small devices are the perfect option for seniors who aren’t able to install whole-home air filters in their HVAC systems. Air filters can easily be transported to whichever room the senior is staying in, and the filters themselves only need to be changed every few weeks.
Aging adults with emphysema often find it challenging to accomplish everyday tasks on their own. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Philadelphia seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
4. Avoid Cured Meats
While doctors are unsure of exactly how cured meats interact with the respiratory system, they believe these food products can increase the risk of developing emphysema. The Harvard School of Public Health recently published a study of more than 43,000 adults with emphysema. This study revealed those who ate cured meats at least once a day were 2.6 times more likely to develop emphysema and other progressive lung conditions.
5. Eat More Fiber
Fiber levels have been closely tied to many different medical conditions, including emphysema and other forms of COPD. The National Institutes of Health recommends healthy seniors should consume at least 27 grams of fiber per day. Many of the foods that have larger doses of fiber also contain the antioxidants that attack free radicals in the throat and lungs. Beans, whole grains, nuts, berries, and leafy greens are all excellent sources of fiber.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional elderly home care. Philadelphia families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Call Home Care Assistance at (215) 645-4663 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.