Do not postpone shortness of breath to old age

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Do not postpone shortness of breath to old age when there is little physical exertion

People who suffer from shortness of breath with low physical exertion should not take the symptoms lightly. Symptoms of this type are less age-related and can rather indicate a serious illness: smokers are particularly affected by the so-called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Shortness of breath with low physical activity can indicate lung disease If long-term smokers suffer from shortness of breath and smoking cough with expectoration, they should consult a pulmonologist, as these complaints could indicate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Since the therapy consists solely in stopping the further progression of the disease and improving the quality of life of the patient, treatment should begin as early as possible.

“If you are out of breath with little effort and feel like you can no longer breathe properly, you shouldn't dismiss this as a normal sign of aging. Because the COPD are developed slowly, but progresses untreated but uninterrupted, ”explained the pulmonologist Professor Dr. Michael Pfeifer at an international advanced training congress of the Federal Chamber of Pharmacists. "But the downward spiral can be stopped by exercise and the early inhalation of medication."

Fight breathlessness with movement
In the group of over 40-year-olds, six percent of men and three percent of women in Germany are affected by COPD. The life-threatening lung disease first manifests itself in shortness of breath during physical activity and a cough with expectoration. Most patients experience increased symptoms in the morning. Since normal breathing already becomes an effort for the body, those affected are often tired and exhausted and only move a little. The load ends in a vicious circle in which the lack of exercise makes the leg and arm muscles even weaker and leads to a further reduction in performance. Other symptoms such as depression and anxiety can also be added. Many COPD patients also suffer from cardiovascular diseases.

“People with COPD are out of breath with little effort. It can be so bad that someone can barely get out of the armchair and walk a few steps to the bathroom. Physical training, even if it's just a regular walk, demonstrably improve performance. And no matter how severe the disease, exercise can always improve physical performance, ”reported Pfeifer. In addition, depending on the stage of the disease, the therapy consists primarily of inhaled medication. Oxygen administration or ventilation may also be necessary. As a last resort, lung transplantation can be considered. (ag)

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