Lung Disease

Some basic information and steps you can take when caring for someone with lung disease.

According to the American Lung Association, one in seven deaths is due to lung disease, making it the number three killer in America today. A lesser known, but equally troubling statistic, is that lung disease is also the number one killer of children younger than one year old.

Currently, more than 30 million Americans are living with an illness identified as “chronic lung disease.” Because this term includes a wide variety of lung problems such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis, the symptoms and treatments for these diseases differ quite a bit.

Regardless of what type of lung disease your loved one has, remember you’re not alone in your caregiving responsibilities. Keep the following in mind:

  • Stay educated about the particulars of the disease. Conduct your own research. Make a trip to the library and review medical journals, keeping yourself up-to-date on the latest research and treatments
  • Prepare specific questions for medical professionals. Ask about the possibility of alternate forms or treatment and referrals.
  • Consult with your loved one’s doctor about what kinds of exercises may be appropriate. While some exercises may be ruled out, even basic stretching and walking can improve your loved one’s stamina.
  • You’re not alone. Let family and friends contribute.
  • If your loved one smokes – or if you do – it’s time to stop. Enough said.
  • Do what you can to support government and private regulations promoting clean air.
  • This includes regulations regarding second-hand smoke, which is especially problematic for infants and children under 18 months of age.

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