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Top 5 Ways for Seniors to Prevent Emphysema

By Beth Brown, 9:00 am on

Emphysema is an extremely common condition among the elderly, and very few people 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.

Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional elderly care. Palm Beach, FL, 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.

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 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. 

2. Steer Clear of Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is extremely unhealthy, and the carcinogens in the smoke can linger in the 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 are not able to install whole-home air filters in their HVAC systems. Air filters can easily be transported to whatever room the senior is staying in, and the filters themselves only need to be changed every few weeks.

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 conducted on over 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. 

Caring for a loved one with emphysema can be challenging at times. Even if your loved one is at risk of emphysema, you may need professional assistance in boosting his or her health. If you are the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Palm Beach, 24-hour care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

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.

Whether your elderly loved one needs part-time assistance with basic household chores or you need respite from your caregiving duties, the Palm Beach hourly care experts at Home Care Assistance are here to help. All of our hourly care services are backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts. Our caregivers promote senior health and wellbeing and can help your loved one stay active and healthy. Speak to one of our friendly Care Managers today at 561.429.8292 and create a customized care plan for your senior loved one.