Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, affects your elderly family member’s ability to breathe and can affect her in ways that she doesn’t expect. One of those ways is through swelling in her ankles. Here’s what that symptom means and what you can do about it.
Ankle Swelling is a Sign of Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension is higher than normal blood pressure in your senior’s lungs and heart. It affects how well the heart and lungs are able to carry blood, and therefore oxygen, throughout your senior’s body. This is slightly different from high blood pressure throughout the rest of the body because it specifically affects the blood vessels in your senior’s lungs.
Other Symptoms Occur
Besides ankle swelling, your elderly family member might experience fatigue, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms are similar to the ones experienced in COPD in general, so it’s difficult sometimes for people with COPD to recognize the difference. If you suspect that your senior is experiencing pulmonary hypertension, talk with her doctor.
Dealing with the Swelling
Treating the pulmonary hypertension is the first step in dealing with the ankle swelling. Fluid balance is also important. If your senior’s doctor has already recommended a low-sodium diet, it’s important to comply with that plan. Encourage your senior to drink plenty of water and to prop up her feet when she’s resting. Diuretics can also help because they flush excess fluids out of her body.
Talk to Her Doctor
If you’ve tried these options and they’re not fully working, keep your senior’s doctor in the loop. Her doctor can try different solutions, such as different diuretics or dosages. Other medications can help, as can adding oxygen to her care plan.
Help Her to Conserve Energy and Rest
With COPD, it’s important for your elderly family member to conserve her energy. Some of the activities that she is trying to do now are better done by elder care providers instead. This way she can use the precious energy that she has to manage her breathing and to deal with her COPD properly. Everything else is secondary to that.
Ankle swelling and other symptoms of pulmonary hypertension may be situations that your senior has to address over and over. COPD doesn’t have a cure, but you can do little things here and there to help your aging adult to manage the condition as well as possible.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED-ONE ARE CONSIDERING ELDER CARE IN PEORIA, AZ, CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE. CALL TODAY (623) 748-3301.