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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Here are signs of worsening COPD

Way too often I see COPD patients (and asthmatics too) come to the emergency room too late to fix them up quick and send them back home. It's not uncommon for a chronic lunger to stay home with the thought, "If I just wait a while longer I'll start to get better."

The truth is, this way of thinking usually results in your breathing only getting worse. If it gets bad enough you may need to be rushed to the ER by ambulance, and we may even need to put a tube in your throat to help you breath and allow your lungs time to heal. In a worse case scenario, you could actually even die.

So, to prevent worsening asthma, there are signs you should be aware of. When you observe any of these signs you should call your physician immediately:
  1. Increased shortness of breath
  2. Increased cough
  3. Increased sputum production
  4. Sputum changes colors (brown, yellow, red, blood tinged, etc)
  5. Sputum becomes thicker
  6. Wheezing
  7. Signs of a cold (sniffling, sneezing, runny nose)
  8. Chest tightness
  9. sore throat
  10. Increased shortness of breath when doing normal daily activities (increased dyspnea)
  11. Increased fluid retention (the most common sign is swollen ankles)
  12. Increased fatigue
  13. Increased respiratory rate
  14. Increased confusion
  15. Bluish tinge around lips or fingers (cyanosis)
  16. Pursed lip breathing (breathing through pursed lips)

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