Respiratory diseases affecting the elderly

Respiratory diseases, or lung diseases, are one of the most common medical conditions in the world. The lungs are a complex system and makes sure that we breathe properly for a healthy life. Any problems affecting the system are known as respiratory diseases. Some of the most common ones are asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Bronchitis, Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, and lung cancer.

The leading cause of death worldwide

Worldwide respiratory diseases are the leading cause of death according to the World health Organisation. It is estimated almost 65 million people have COPD and 3 million die from it each year. 14% of children across the world have asthma with almost 334 million suffering from it. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death in children under 5. 1.4 million die from tuberculosis and 1.6 million die from lung cancer each year.

Respiratory diseases in the United State of America

Many adults in America have some form of respiratory system related illnesses. In 2018, almost 9 million adults were diagnosed with chronic bronchitis according to figures shared by the CDC. 3.8 million American adults were diagnosed with emphysema. Both are Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which makes it extremely hard to breathe. This is 3rd leading cause of death in America.

Symptoms of COPD in the elderly.

Most elderly go to the doctor with complaints of having difficulty breathing, sometimes these are due to age related changes in the body. The body with aging loses its muscle strength which can affect us in various ways. The pulmonary mechanics of the respiratory system are complicated, and guidance is required for treatment. Some of the most common respiratory symptoms for COPD are shortness of breath, chronic cough, sputum production, wheezing, loss of appetite and fatigue.

It is important to seek help when suffering from the above-mentioned symptoms for respiratory diseases as respiratory failure can lead to death.

The leading causes of respiratory diseases

Exposure to air pollution

Air pollution can affect the quality of our life, you might have noticed if the air is polluted it can cause a burning sensation in the eyes, makes it difficult to breath and overall affects your body. Long term exposure to bad air quality can result in respiratory diseases.

Second-hand smoke

Second-hand smoke can be equally as bad as smoking, if not worse, inhaling second-hand smoke can affect our lungs and cause respiratory illnesses. So, make sure your house or office environment is smoke free. While it is becoming more and more difficult to smoke in place of business, it is your duty to make your home smoke free.

Exposure chemicals, dust, and fumes

Sometimes we work in environments or live near areas which can get us exposed to chemical, dust and poisonous fumes regularly.  The exposure to such environments for a long period can lead to respiratory diseases. 

Childhood respiratory infection

If you had regular respiratory infections in your childhood, the chances of you getting respiratory diseases in the future or adulthood increases. While you cannot change your medical history, you can take measures to help prevent respiratory illnesses.

How to prevent respiratory diseases 

Stop smoking!

STOP SMOKING! there is no simpler way to say it other than please stop smoking. Smokers can protect themselves from respiratory diseases in the future if they simply stop. Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancers, heart diseases and respiratory illnesses.

Do not start smoking! 

If you are even thinking about smoking, do not go near a cigarette. You should understand that for your own good and for my own better health. I should not start smoking.

Keep your home smoke free.

It is important that you ensure that your home and the environment you are in the most is smoke free, so you avoid exposure to second-hand smoke.

Be aware of the danger of chemicals, dust, and fumes.

Take measures to protect yourself from chemicals, dust, and fumes in your environment, speak to your superiors and try to make concrete changes which will help reduce exposure to them.

Fight for clean air.

Work together with communities, the government or whoever you may need to fight for clean air in your area of work and home. This will not only help you and your family but save countless lives around you who can suffer from respiratory diseases in the future.

We do not know what the future holds, but we know how we can make it better for us, our loved ones, and the communities around us.