Tag Archive for: breathing

Pneumonia is lung inflammation caused by bacterial or viral infection, in which the air sacs fill with liquid, rendering them useless for breathing. Having pneumonia is very taxing on the body, especially for older adults. Older adults are more susceptible to developing pneumonia especially after a surgery. Weakened immune systems, pain medications, sedatives, and anesthesia are all factors that contribute to the vulnerability of postoperative patients. Pain medications, sedatives, and anesthesia all cause patients to take shallower breaths. Breathing deeply helps to keep mucus from gathering in the lungs and prevent the development of pneumonia.

The symptoms of pneumonia are often difficult for older adults to recognize as they frequently mirror ailments that are common for the aging population. Pay close attention to changes in your body.

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Coughing up mucus
  • Confusion
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Pain in the lungs when breathing or coughing

Recognizing the symptoms of pneumonia is crucial for inhibiting the further development of the illness, but prevention is an even better solution. You can reduce your risk of getting pneumonia by following a few simple tips.

  1. CDC recommends two pneumococcal vaccines for adults 65 years or older.
  2. Get a flu shot every year to prevent seasonal influenza. The flu is a common cause of pneumonia,
    so preventing the flu is a good way to prevent pneumonia.
  3. Stay away from people who are sick.
  4. Manage and prevent conditions like diabetes.
  5. Limit your contact with cigarette smoke.
  6. Healthy habits such as: hand washing, dental hygiene, eating right, exercise, and deep breathing
    exercises after surgery are other important factors to help pneumonia prevention.

Did You Know? Physical Therapy can improve your ability to exercise and address difficulty breathing with helpful breathing exercises. Talk with your doctor to learn if therapy could benefit you.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD is an umbrella term used to describle progressive lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and non-reversible asthma. People with COPD suffer with continued and increasing breathlessness. The symptoms of COPD are sometimes difficult to notice because they can be mistaken for the common cold or normal aging. COPD affects an estimated 30 million people in the United States and over half of them are unaware of their condition. Taking note of your symptoms and asking your doctor to screen you can help you avoid losing major function in your lungs.

Symptoms of COPD:

  • Increased Breathlessness
  • Frequent Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest Tightness
  • Increased Mucus
  • Dizziness Upon Waking
  • Swollen Ankles
  • Frequent Respiratory Infections
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Fatigue or Inability to Exercise

COPD leads to the decline of pulmonary function and can lower your quality of life. Genetics and exposure to work/environmental pollutants can cause COPD, but the primary cause is smoking. Smoking and second-hand smoke account for 90% of COPD cases. Quitting smoking is extremely important to slow the progression of COPD. Slowing the progression of the disease can also be done through changing the air quality in your home and work environment.

Exercise and rehabilitation are great weapons in the war on COPD. Too often, patients with COPD avoid exercise because of their shortness of breath. Without exercise and improving endurance, the shortness of breath will only worsen. Physical therapists can help COPD patients exercise in a safe and secure environment. Physical and occupational therapy can improve your ability to exercise, your strength and endurance, and help you conserve energy doing daily tasks. Therapists can also help reduce difficulty in breathing by providing helpful breathing exercises. Talk to your doctor today about the benefits of both physical and occupational therapy to slow the progression of COPD!


Sources: COPD Foundation