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Articles in Category: Breathing

Respiratory Therapy Can Benefit Older Adults with Chronic Conditions

Respiratory Therapy Can Benefit Older Adults with Chronic Conditions

October 23rd – 29th is Respiratory Care Week. During this week healthcare professionals and patients recognize respiratory therapists and acknowledge the importance of respiratory care. Older adults, especially those with two or more chronic conditions, require constant assessment of both acute and chronic respiratory function. Many factors including aging, genetics, pollutants and irritants can affect lung health. The common cold and flu can cause upper respiratory infections and chronic respiratory conditions, such as pneumonia and bronchitis. 

Older adults are more susceptible to pneumonia, inflammation of the lungs caused by an infection with a bacterium or virus, following the flu or during lengthy hospital stays. Age-related changes in the lung strength compound the effects of heart and lung diseases. Patients with a history of smoking or long-term exposure to environmental pollutants may be at increased risk for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). COPD is characterized by difficulty exhaling or in “blowing air out.” Chronic conditions or age-related decline in heart function can limit mobility and capabilities for exercise. This may decrease aerobic exercise that can strengthen respiratory muscles and support breathing.

Catching Your Breath Through Transitional Care

Catching Your Breath Through Transitional Care

When someone can’t breathe nothing else matters. Enjoying the simplest pleasures of daily life become a struggle. Patients with complex health conditions and seniors with serious breathing problems take in less oxygen and therefore have less energy for daily tasks. This can dramatically reduce one's quality of life. As a result, patients can often feel anxious, fatigued, and depressed. The help of caregivers becomes increasingly important as breathing difficulties persist.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (i.e. emphysema or chronic bronchitis), and asthma are two chronic breathing conditions that burden seniors and patients with complex conditions the most. Damaged air sacks (alveoli), obstructed airways, or chronically inflamed lungs can block breathing and increase risks for developing infections. These patients are highly sensitive to irritants and require more assistance in reducing and preventing exposure to triggers that exacerbate symptoms.

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