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5 Ways Aging Adults Can Keep Emphysema at Bay

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Emphysema is one of the biggest health conditions seniors face. This degenerative condition gradually results in damaged alveoli that cannot properly absorb oxygen. Seniors with emphysema may find it hard to breathe and may experience the damaging effects of low oxygen levels.

Emphysema is not the only health risk seniors are susceptible to. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Fort Myers families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. Here are a few ways aging adults can prevent emphysema.

1. Exercise Regularly

It may be unpleasant to exercise vigorously if your loved one has emphysema, but even a gentle walk can help his or her lungs function better. Strengthening neck and chest muscles allows for easier breathing, and the deep breathing can enhance lung capacity. Encourage your loved one to get cardio exercise at least a few times each week to prevent severe emphysema. Some people find swimming particularly beneficial because the humid air is soothing to the lungs.

If your aging loved one needs help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and hourly care. Fort Myers seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable part-time caregivers. This way, your loved one can have a professional caregiver around to help him or her with exercise and other daily activities.

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being either overweight or underweight can cause breathing issues. Overweight seniors have difficulty breathing properly because their excess weight puts more pressure on the lungs. However, seniors with emphysema often end up losing too much weight because their attempts to breathe can burn more calories. Being too thin can cause health problems that exacerbate emphysema symptoms. If you are worried about your loved one developing emphysema, you may need to work with a doctor or nutritionist to find a diet that meets your loved one’s needs.

3. Breathe Less Polluted Air

Breathing in pollutants can damage lungs on a cellular level, and this type of consistent lung inflammation can lead to emphysema. It can be difficult to avoid all air pollution in a busy city, but there are still steps you can take to ensure your loved one breathes cleaner air. If possible, install an air filter in your loved one’s bedroom. Get rid of aerosol cleaners or toiletries, and remind your loved one to not linger in areas with smoke, dust, or chemicals. Consider investing in indoor plants that help filter air and expel fresh oxygen.

4. Add Antioxidants to Diet

Since emphysema is caused by inflammation due to lung damage, your loved one should try to lower inflammation whenever possible. Antioxidants are certain naturally occurring compounds that help reduce and prevent inflammation damage. Both vitamin E and vitamin C are strong antioxidants, and other antioxidants can be found in foods such as green tea, blueberries, ginger, garlic, spinach, olive oil, blackberries, and turmeric.

5. Avoid Smoke

This is the most important way of preventing emphysema. If your loved one smokes tobacco, encourage him or her to quit. There are many smoke-free alternatives like e-cigarettes or nicotine patches that are easier on the lungs. Even if your loved one doesn’t smoke, he or she should try to avoid secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke can be particularly damaging in the home, so you may need to have a serious talk with other household members about your loved one’s health. 

Whether you need respite from your caregiving duties or your aging loved one needs 24-hour care, Fort Myers, FL, Home Care Assistance can meet your family’s care needs. Our dedicated caregivers are available around the clock to provide transportation to doctor’s appointments, ensure seniors take their prescribed medications, and help with a variety of tasks in and outside the home. Call us at 239.449.4701 and create a tailored care plan for your aging loved one.