Old people suffer from a lot of ailments like breathing difficulty and the like. The following article will tell you about what are the varied causes that can lead to a shortness of breath in the elderly.
As we age, our health wanes and a lot of ailments become commonplace. Some that might’ve never been there before, make their presence felt loud and clear. So if you look at an old person, you will find that their energy reduces and they have small ailments to cope with every single day. Today we will study about one such ailment―the causes of shortness of breath, especially in the elderly.
COPD stands for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder and is caused by a combination of two conditions, namely―chronic bronchitis and emphysema. This damages the lungs to such an extent that it becomes difficult to take normal breaths and therefore there is apparent breathing difficulty experienced. Smokers are at the greatest risk to become victims of this condition, but other reasons like passive smoking and air pollution can also lead to COPD. Look out for COPD as one of the primary causes of shortness of breath. It will most likely be accompanied by coughing and phlegm, along with other chest infections.
The elderly are at constant risk of suffering from some health diseases and complications and more often than not, they are heart conditions. These could include:
- Pulmonary Embolism ~ In this, there is a possibility that a blood clot has moved from another part of the body into the heart and blocked it in some way.
- Pnueumothorax ~ In this condition, the air gets blocked between the air or chest wall and causes shortness of breath.
- Atelectasis ~ In which, one of the lung collapses and therefore it is one of the most severe shortness of breath causes in elderly people.
- Congestive Heart Failure ~ This is caused by a fluid buildup in the lungs and feet.
If an elderly person suddenly experiences shortness of breath when he/she has never experienced it before, and it is accompanied by a tight chest and shortness of breath along with a feeling like the chest is being squeezed, then it could be indicative of a heart attack. Check for other signs of heart attack like shooting pain up and down the arm, pressure in the ear etc. and make sure that you take them to the emergency room immediately.
Anemia causes the red blood cells to weaken and that leads to less oxygen being carried into the body. Less oxygen results in a lot of side effects and one of the main ones is shortness of breath.
Conditions like pulmonary hypertension, Interstitial Lung Disease, bronchitis, pneumonia, or sarcoidosis causes the narrowing of the arteries so that enough air is not supplied to the body; or it may cause the scarring of or an infection in the lungs. This will affect the way they breathe and will lead to shortness of breath. It may even be lung cancer.
- Over exercising ~ Sometimes over exerting oneself by over exercising causes the breath to strain.
- Obesity leads one to become easily tired with the slightest activity and causes shortness of breath.
- Muscle weakness
- Renal failure
Now you know what the causes of shortness of breath in the elderly are and how you can therefore take the necessary precautions and care for them well.
Disclaimer – This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.