There is a common word in the respiratory-branch of diseases; Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease which is becoming more common by the day. This is due to the increased use in smoke and the victims end up being the passive smokers. When the condition worsens, the disease is usually referred to as an ‘Exacerbation’ or simply COPD flare-up.
This is a very serious condition, and victims suffer similar symptoms as those from an asthmatic attack. In extremely dire cases, patients are usually advised to call 911 to be hospitalized. That said, the fundamental factor when dealing with COPD is awareness. The first step to awareness is knowing the basics about COPD flare-ups.
What are the causes and symptoms of COPD flare-ups?
The respiratory disease is usually brought about by external factors. These are including dust, air pollutants, allergens and pollen. These will, especially, attack those exposed to the most intense of these conditions. “Second-hand” – otherwise called the passive cigarette smokers – are also more prone to contracting the menace. Moreover, strong perfumes and other scented products may affect some and bring about the condition.
Changes in weather conditions affect people differently. Recently, there have been a record number of patients reporting for COPD flare-up after diverse weather changes. This is both during changes to extreme cold conditions or during the hot and humid summers.
But even after knowing all these, how will you become aware when you contract the disease? You may experience a hopeless state of breathlessness or shortness of breath from time to time. This may be accompanied by a wheezing sound when you’re breathing to indicate a blockage in your airways.
Patients are also known to have a persistent cough that doesn’t seem to go away even with flu medication. Sometimes patients may have mucus with a different coloring too. Patients suffering from COPD flare-ups have also reported a constant fatigue which brings about an unusual sleep. Others have even claimed to be confused as cognitive impairment comes when the brain is deprived of oxygen.
The rules to prevent COPD flare-ups
Prevention is better than cure in almost all circumstances – in this case, prevention will point back to lifestyle. It simply directs you to stay away from all the causes of the disease as much as possible. For example:
- Stay away from people with strong perfumes.
- Avoid purchasing scented soaps and oils.
- Avoid active and passive smoking.
- Protect yourself when in the cold.
Patients may also practice:
- Better hygiene through washing hands at all times.
- Carrying a pen to the doctor’s office to avoid sharing with others.
- Staying away from crowds as much as possible.
- Getting a flu shot every year.
Remember to make it to all your doctor’s appointments as your progress is also crucial!
Even after leaving a perfect life, patients might still experience flare-ups from time to time. These are helped out through treatment plans such as bronchodilators given through inhalers, corticosteroids, antibiotics, oxygen therapy and hospitalization in the worst of cases.
As a COPD flare-up patient, certain knowledge will help keep you afloat through your hardest of times. You need to know the medication that works for you, the stage at which you need to reach for the inhaler in your purse and when to seek medical help.