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Monday, March 24, 2014

I have COPD? Why is my CO2 rising

The following question is from a community member at

Your Question:  I have COPD.  Why is my CO2 rising

My answer: CO2 is a waste product made made during the process of cellular respiration. When you inhale you take in oxygen needed for this process, and when you exhale part of what you are exhaling is CO2. When the lungs become diseased, the body may become less efficient at getting all the CO2 out of the blood. This may occur due to natural progression of the disease. Emphysema causes the breakdown of lung tissue, meaning there are areas of your lungs not ventilated, and this will increase CO2 in blood. Chronic bronchitis results in increased secretions in lungs that the patient is unable to get out, and this results in a breeding ground for infections such as pneuonia. The part of the lung with pneumonia is not being ventilatied, causing a rise in CO2. Another reason may be an exacerbation of COPD, and this may be caused due to pneumonia, but it may also be caused by some other trigger, such as a strong smell, mold, dust, allergen, etc. The best treatment and preventative measure is to work with a doctor on finding the best methods of controlling the disease.

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