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UNDERSTANDING COPD MYTHS VS. FACTS

February 3, 2014

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), also referred to sometimes as emphysema, as a single cause of death shares 4th and 5th places with HIV/AIDS, after coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and acute respiratory infection.  In 1990, a study by the World Bank and WHO ranked COPD 12th as a burden of disease; by 2020, it is estimated that COPD will be ranked 5th.  But how much do most of us really know about this lung disease?

 

Living with COPD requires a thorough understanding of the disease, as well as some significant lifestyle and dietary changes.  If you or a someone you know has COPD, here are some common myths and facts that you or they can use in order to help live a better life with this disease.

 

True or False? COPD usually strikes in old age.

 

False. COPD usually strikes in middle age.  The disease tends to develop 20 to 30 years after a person starts smoking or has been exposed to materials or toxic fumes that can cause lung disease.

 

True or False? Women rarely develop COPD.

 

False.  While COPD was once considered a “man’s disease,” in year 2000, more women than men died of COPD.  This death rate had a direct correlation to the increased numbers of girls and women that started smoking in the 1960s and 1970s.

True or False?  In the U.S., COPD is among the leading causes of disability.

True. The two major causes of disability that force people to stop working are heart disease and COPD.

 

While these may be scary statistics, the good news is that COPD is treatable and often preventable. Since the vast majority of cases are directly related to smoking, the best way to prevent COPD is to never smoke or to quit smoking as soon as possible.

 

If you’ve gotten to a point where you or a loved one has significant COPD that is now interfering with the common activities of daily living (ADLs), consider calling us for a free in-home assessment conducted by one of our RNs.  This assessment will help provide you with information on how we can assist you with house cleaning, meal preparation, shopping, laundry or any other activities that your COPD is limiting.

Contact usat (208) 777-0308 if you reside in the Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls or Hayden areas; (208) 263-7889 if you’re in the Sandpoint, Bonners Ferry or Priest River areas; or (208) 784-1505 if in the Kellogg, Wallace or Pinehurst areas.  We would be happy to answer any questions you might have or send an RN out right away to talk with you.  Living with COPD can be challenging but we can help make those challenges manageable, while keeping you safely and comfortably at home.

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