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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