Any time that your elderly family member mentions chest pain you’re likely to think about her heart. But there are lung problems and illnesses that can cause chest pain as well. Understanding those different lung issues can help you to recognize what’s going on, but it’s never a substitute for medical attention.
Bronchitis causes coughing and chest pain, sometimes from the coughing itself, but more commonly because of the swelling in the small airways in the lungs. Bronchitis tends to produce a lot of mucus, too, so coughing can be productive, meaning it moves a lot of that mucus out of her lungs, or unproductive. Bronchitis can be acute, which means it shows up suddenly and goes away after treatment, or it can be chronic, which means it recurs frequently.
Asthma is similar to bronchitis in that there is restriction in the small airways of the lungs. There can also be quite a bit of fluid buildup, which might feel to your senior as if she’s trying to breathe underwater. Exercise or cold air are two things that could make asthma feel a little more severe for your senior. Emotional situations, like a panic attack or an anxiety spike, can also make asthma more of an issue.
Another cause of lung pain that is really common, especially among older adults, is pneumonia. This is an infection in the lungs and as severe as it is, sometimes people don’t realize that they even have pneumonia. Your elderly family member might have a bit of chest pain or a nagging cough and not realize just how sick she is until she develops more pronounced problems. By then the infection is likely to be much bigger.
Pleurisy is also common, but most people hear it described as simply an inflammation of the lining around the lungs. This can happen in combination with other problems, like pneumonia. It can also be caused by other issues that created an irritation of that lining. Pleurisy is more likely to hurt as your senior is breathing in and out, because it’s impacting the entire lining of the lung.
If your senior is experiencing any chest pain, it’s important to either go to her doctor or to the emergency room to make sure that you’re certain about the cause. Recovering from lung issues can take a while, so it might be a good idea to ensure she’s got help from senior care providers so that she can rest as needed.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care in Havertown, PA please contact the caring staff at True Direct Home Health Care today.
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