Disability of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Essay example

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COPD is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and is a major cause of disability. Millions of middle aged-adult and older adults are diagnosed with COPD. “Over the past decades chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has become widespread and is now the fourth leading cause of morbidity and mortality on a worldwide basis” (Hellem, Bruugsgaard, & Bergland, 2012, p. 206). This disease is a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. As time goes on the symptoms will get worse. Most people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. With emphysema, the walls between many of the air sacs are damaged which reduces the amount of gas exchange in the lungs. With chronic bronchitis, the lining of the airways is constantly irritated and inflamed. This causes the lining to thicken and thick mucus forms in the airways, which makes it hard to breathe.

The leading cause of COPD is cigarette smoking, either people that smoke or used to smoke or had long term exposure to other lung irritants. “There are significant data to suggest that people who smoke are at a much higher risk of developing COPD than people who do not” (Clancy & Turner, 2013, p. 820). Lung irritants include second hand smoke, air pollution, chemical fumes or industrial dust and frequent use of cooking gas or fires without proper ventilation. Symptoms of COPD usually begin at age 40. Smoking is the main risk factor for COPD. People either smoke or used to smoke and smokers who have a family history of this disease are more likely to develop COPD. Asthma, although uncommon, can also cause development of this disease if treatments do not work.

In the beginning, COPD may cause no symptoms or only mild symptoms. As the disease progresses, sympt...

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...e cured, but the course of the disease can be influenced by optimal medical treatment and interprofessional pulmonary rehabilitation (PR), which includes exercise as one of its cornerstones” (Hellem, Bruugsgaard, & Bergland, 2012, p. 206).

Being diagnosed with COPD will have a significant impact on the older adults view on health, death and dying. Because of the impact a diagnosis has on an individuals health and activities of daily living older adults may see this as a time to take control of their health. They may have a new motivation to live healthier, quit smoking and begin exercising. They may feel a new sense of motivation to live longer and be less of a burden to their family. They may believe that by doing so they can make up for their past mistakes and look back on their life with satisfaction and one day die with dignity rather than shame or remorse.

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