Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is progressive, meaning as time goes by it gradually worsens. According to the European Lung Foundation, the following are warning signs you need to tell your doctor about, as they could indicate that your COPD is getting worse.
Changes to Tell Your Doctor About
You should contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
• Increased shortness of breath
• More mucus production
• Swollen legs and feet
• Coughing up blood
• Chest pain when you breathe
• Excessive drowsiness
• Mood swings
Experiencing these conditions may cause concern. Other than keeping your doctor informed, here’s a look at how to handle some of these changes in your condition, according to the European Lung Foundation.
Increased Shortness of Breath
If you feel short of breath more often than you used to, do the following:
• Remain calm.
• Use your emergency inhalers.
• Begin emergency treatment or follow the advice of your self-management program.
• Implement relaxation breathing techniques.
• If you have oxygen, use it all day, but don’t change the amount your doctor prescribed.
• When you move around, do so more slowly.
More Mucus Production
You may notice you're coughing up more mucus than usual. It may change color or thicken, which makes the mucus harder to get out. To thin the mucus, the COPD Foundation suggests drinking more water throughout the day and asking your doctor about using over-the-counter cough medicine.
Swollen Legs and Feet
Swelling in your lower extremities can occur as your COPD worsens. If this happens, rest and keep your feet propped up. Be sure to tell your doctor about the problem if it persists for more than three days.
Habits That Make You Feel Worse
According to the European Lung Foundation, you're more likely to experience these symptoms of worsening COPD if you:
• Continue to smoke
• Fail to take your medication or oxygen as directed
• Don’t keep appointments with your doctor for regular evalution
• Skip daily exercise
• Fail to sort out other illnesses
To learn more about slowing the progression of COPD, download this free guide from DoMoreWithOxygen.com today.
Photo Credit: Joe Christainsen