Posts Tagged ‘exacerbation’

Exacerbation of COPD: Important Signs to Watch Out For

July 19th, 2013

Exacerbation of COPD

To define COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, we need to understand that while it is one of the diseases that many people fear, having COPD does not necessarily mean being given a death sentence.
What is COPD?
COPD is one of the most common lung diseases worldwide. It blocks normal breathing processes. The National Library of Medicine, in its A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia, identified two main forms of COPD:
  • chronic bronchitis, which features mucus-laden cough that occurs long-term, and
  • emphysema, that causes damage to the lungs
Most people with COPD experience a combination of both medical conditions.
What Causes COPD?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco smoke is the main cause of COPD. This is regardless of whether tobacco smoke is directly inhaled, or inhaled as second-hand smoke (from those who smoke in the
immediate vicinity).
exacerbation of copd

English: A chest X-ray demonstrating severe COPD. Note the small size of the heart in comparison to the lungs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Aside from smoking, there are other risk factors for developing COPD. These include:
  • indoor and outdoor air pollution
  • occupational dusts and chemicals and,
  • frequent lower respiratory infections during childhood
While as of yet, no cure has been found for COPD, it is highly possible to improve the quality of life of someone with the disease through the provision of proper and adequate medical care, and more importantly, a change in lifestyle.
Therefore, when we define COPD, we need to include the fact that exacerbation of COPD does not necessarily have to happen as an expected part of the progress of the disease. In fact, exacerbation of COPD can, and should be avoided, in order to help enable those with COPD to continue being active and to breathe in a different way.
What is COPD Exacerbation?
The word “exacerbation” means an increase or aggravation of a condition or situation. Exacerbation of COPD therefore means a “flare-up” or the worsening of COPD symptoms. Knowing exactly what to look for when trying to determine if COPD is being exacerbated or not, can greatly help to ease the difficulties encountered by someone with COPD, as well as possibly even save his or her life.
These are the signs to look out for in exacerbation of COPD:
  • shortness of breath, even with hardly any physical activity being done
  • noisy breathing, such as wheezing, whistling, gurgling, or rattling in the breath
  • increased anxiety due to difficulty in breathing; the anxiety serves to worsen breathing as well, making it a cruel cycle
  • breathing from the chest, instead of the abdomen; breathing becomes more irregular, either too fast, or too slow
  • more severe or more frequent coughing; cough may be dry or have bloody, greenish, or yellowish phlegm; lying down worsens the coughing, relief is attained only when one sits up
  • when exacerbation is happening, the nails may become bluish or purplish; the same for the edges of the lips; the complexion may become grayish – these are all due to a lack of oxygen getting in the lungs
  • lack of interest in, or inability to eat and/or sleep
  • inability to speak properly; using hand gestures to communicate
  • morning headaches caused by the presence of carbon dioxide in the blood
  • swollen ankles and legs; abdominal pain
It is important to note that many of the signs of exacerbation of COPD may also be symptoms of other medical conditions.
To be much more certain of how to define COPD properly and recognize signs of exacerbation, make sure to consult a medical professional at the soonest possible time.
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Exacerbation of COPD – Definition

August 30th, 2011

Exacerbation of COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease (COPD) damages the structures of the alveoli which blocks the passageway of the lungs. Also the accumulation of mucus and swelling harm the patient’s ability to fully breathe out air from the lungs. Some conditions experienced during exacerbation is cough, out of breath, muscle dysfunctions, depression and heart failures.

As per statistics the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is one of the major causes of deaths in the US and Canda. The reason of having a high mortality is the exacerbation of copd.

What’s a COPD exacerbation?

An acute exacerbation is described by a continuous deterioration of dyspnea, cough or mucus production which also leads to an increased usage of medications. The analysis is done through clinical diagnosis which is supported by x-ray and laboratory testing. On average a patient will experience 2 to 3 acute exacerbations of COPD every year.

More often it difficult to immediately detect the actual causes of the exacerbation and the causes of the exacerbations is unknown 30% of the time. Diagnosis has revealed that the trigger is mostly from infection in the upper respiratory tract and bacteria after an infection from a “cold”.

Some causes also might include exposure to cold air or allergic reactions. Smoke from cigarettes and air pollutions are well known for this case of triggering acute exacerbation.

How do flare-ups affect a patient’s life? If COPD patients are asked about their disease, they generally feel that exacerbations contribute most to the reduction in quality of life, due to the weeks of shortness of breath and fatigue.

exacerbation of copd

what is exacerbation of copd? smoking is one of the leading cause of copd

industrial pollutant

Prevention of smoking and contact to second-hand smoke, industrial pollutants, dust, chemicals and traffic congestions is important aspect in the treating exacerbations.


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