A Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) diagnosis can be difficult to understand. It can be confusing to not only wrap your mind around the shock of a diagnosis, but also what is going on to prompt the diagnosis. It can also be scary not knowing what to look for as serious warning signs that indicate something more serious is going on.
When you are diagnosed with COPD, the airways of your lungs are obstructed, restricting airflow in and out of your airways. This happens for one or more of the reasons listed below.
- An increase of mucus clogging the airways
- Destruction of the walls between air sacs
- Inflammation of the airway walls
- Loss of elasticity in the air sacs and airways
This results in a lack of carbon dioxide being exchanged with oxygen and increased difficulty breathing. Not only does the airway obstruction make breathing more difficult, but also it makes the breaths you are taking less efficient. As the disease progresses, you may find yourself short of breath more often.
The signs, symptoms, and progression of COPD is different for everyone. This can make it difficult to predict what will happen after a COPD diagnosis.
No matter how you feel your disease is progressing, it is important to be aware of warning signs that can signal an exacerbation or complication.
- Difficulty catching your breath or conversing
- Rapid heartbeat
- Change in color of lips or fingernails
- Routine/daily treatment is not alleviating symptoms
It is important to understand what is going on with your disease and how it affects your body so you can consult your physician if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Source: www.healthcentral.com, Accessed: 8/9/17