My mother is 77 years old and has emphysema. She is on oxygen 24 hours a day. Her breathes are short and quick, she complains of muscle quivers and eating is diffficult for her. She can not stand for any length of time. I understand it is difficult to put a time frame on her condition-but I am curious about the final stage of this disease and what I should be looking for. Thank you. Kim
You are right. It is very difficult to put a time frame on the life expectancy of a person with severe, oxygen dependent, emphysema. The disease itself, is chronic and progressive, and more rapidly progressive if an individual continues to smoke cigarettes. Elderly individuals with advanced emphysema are also increasingly prone to other serious life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, blood vessel disease and cancer.
The natural course of emphysema is one of increasing shortness of breath. That is what you should be looking for. In some instances, progressive respiratory failure is accompanied by depression, personality changes, memory loss and a decrease in cognition. This all can be most uncomfortable but, especially in the final stages, can be significantly improved by the judicious administration of narcotics. Many doctors are reluctant to provide this kind of relief. It would behoove you and her to find a lung specialist, willing to provide this type of palliative care. You might also want to inquire about hospice care, especially a Hospice that has experience and is comfortable providing good care to persons with end-stage lung disease.
My husband is in the final stage of COPD. We have spoke with his doctor, and his time left with his family is 1 1/2. Due to the fact, his illness is progressing faster than he ever saw. He is not on O2 because he feels it's the end. He does need it. His FEV1 16% with meds. I am looking into hospice care now, so everything will go smooth when the time comes. Make a list of all the question's you have regarding your mother's condition. May god bless you and watch over you and your family. I will stop by again to see how she is doing..Keep in touch..
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