As we age, our complex needs with regards to respiratory health can become more costly and more complicated. Major health events such as stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and heart disease can impose a huge strain on the resources of seniors. However, applying a proactive approach to addressing respiratory risks and taking the necessary steps to maintain healthy lungs can help to reduce the risk of developing life-threatening illnesses in seniors.
Risks from Respiratory Conditions to Consider
Asthma: Asthma is a respiratory condition which causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways, making it difficult to breathe. For seniors, it can be particularly tricky to manage as the symptoms tend to fluctuate as a person ages.
Bronchitis: Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs. It is caused by both viruses and bacteria and can cause serious health issues for seniors.
Pneumonia: Pneumonia is a lung infection caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. It can be very serious in people over 65 and is easier to catch if the person is in a warming home or hospital due to weakened immunity and respiratory systems.
Tips for Staying Healthy
Quit Smoking: Smoking is one of the most common factors that influence respiratory health in an aging population. Quitting smoking can drastically reduce your risk of developing respiratory issues.
Exercise: Exercise helps to improve breathing, strength and overall health. Regular walks and simple aerobic activities such as swimming can help to keep your lungs in good condition and prevents muscle weakening associated with aging.
Good Nutrition: Eating and drinking high-fiber and nutrient-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help your body to fight infection and promote good respiratory health.
Seeking Professional Help
If you think that you may be at risk of developing a respiratory condition, or if you do suffer from an existing condition, seek professional help from your doctor or a respiratory therapist. They can provide you with advice on how to best manage your condition and how to prevent it from getting worse.
At-home monitoring systems are also a great way to manage your respiratory health and understand key indicators like airflow and heart rate. This can help to identify any potential risks and alert you to see your doctor sooner.
Respiratory health in seniors is an increasingly important issue, so understanding the associated risks, taking the necessary steps to promote healthy lungs and seeking the advice of a healthcare professional can help seniors to maintain their respiratory health.