Does Dad Have Asthma?
Asthma can strike at any time during a person’s life. Someone who has never had asthma symptoms before can begin to experience them even as a senior citizen. If you or your dad’s senior care provider have noticed him having trouble breathing or heard a whistling sound when he exhales, your dad may have asthma.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects the airways, or bronchial tubes. When a person has asthma, the bronchial tubes become inflamed, causing them to be narrower and making it more difficult for air to travel in and out of the lungs. Asthma can be triggered by various things depending on the person. Some common triggers include exercise, pollen, stress, air pollutants, and cold air. An asthma attack can also be triggered by a respiratory infection, such as a common cold.
What are the symptoms?
Like asthma triggers, asthma symptoms can also vary from one person to the next. Symptoms of asthma may include:
- Wheezing, which is a whistle-like sound that occurs when the person is exhaling.
- Feeling short of breath.
- A feeling of tightness or pain in the chest.
- Fits of coughing or wheezing that become worse when the person has a respiratory virus.
- Difficulty sleeping because of shortness of breath or wheezing.
- Dry coughing that is brought on by a trigger.
- Colds that persist for 10 or more days.
How is asthma diagnosed?
A doctor will conduct a physical exam to rule out other conditions that could cause the same symptoms, such as COPD. Your dad may also be tested for allergies. A physician may recommend that your dad see a pulmonary specialist for diagnosis. Testing for asthma involves lung function tests. Those tests may include a spirometry test to check for narrowing of the bronchial tubes, and a peak flow test to check how hard your dad can exhale. Sometimes the tests are performed before and after administering a bronchodilator, like albuterol. When test results improve after the medication, it is likely that the patient has asthma.
How is asthma treated?
Asthma is not curable, but it can be effectively managed. Treatment for asthma generally involves medication, such as the use of an inhaler for long-term management. The doctor may also prescribe a fast-acting medication for use in the event of an asthma attack. There are also steps you can take at home to minimize the symptoms of asthma and prevent asthma attacks, such as:
- Use an air conditioner to control the humidity inside the house and reduce exposure to pollen.
- Reduce the amount of dust in the home by replacing carpeting with hardwood flooring and using washable drapes and blinds.
- Increase the frequency of house cleaning to prevent the buildup of dust.
- Prevent mold spores by cleaning damp areas, like the bathroom, frequently and remove wet leaves from the yard.
- Reduce pet dander by having pets bathed and groomed regularly.
How can a home senior care provider help?
A senior care provider can help manage your dad’s asthma by reminding him to take his asthma medications. The caregiver can also help manage symptoms by implementing some of the tips listed above, like dusting the house and washing drapes. A caregiver can monitor symptoms and report any changes to you so that you will know if your dad needs to see his doctor.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Lodi, CA, call the caring staff at Golden Independence Home Care.
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