Aging Adults And COPD

CompassionCare Hospice

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November is COPD Awareness Month.

Aging Adults and COPD - CompassionCare Hospice of Las Vegas, Nevada


COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States. It is a chronic a progressive condition with no cure. Medications and treatments may help, but eventually the symptoms will worsen. There are many opportunities for hope and a certain quality of life even after a diagnosis of COPD. COPD occurs most often in older adults and can also affect people in their middle ages. Most people are at least 40 years old when symptoms first appear. It is commonly seen in the aging population. The progression of the disease can vary slightly, so it is more important to focus on possible COPD symptoms rather than solely on the age you might get it. Diagnosis is your best bet with this disease.

Symptoms include:

  • Shortness of Breath: At first, a person may get tired upon strenuous exertion, say while walking up a long flight of stairs. Later, a simple task such as a trip to the mailbox causes breathlessness.
  • Inability to Keep Up: Simple activities such as bathing and dressing may leave someone with COPD winded and exhausted
  • Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss: Eating becomes difficult when a person is short of breath.
  • Fatigue: This can be caused by a person fighting to breathe, or by a person’s body receiving less oxygen due to COPD.
  • An increasing number of hospital visits
  • Limited improvement after hospital stays

***It is important to understand any of these symptoms are not normal parts of aging. A doctor’s visit is necessary.

The elderly are especially prone to the adverse health effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD in older adults is a complex disorder with several unique age-related aspects. Most people aren’t familiar with this disease. Perhaps the reason COPD is not known is that it is under-diagnosed and misdiagnosed.

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