What is it like to have OCPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

In the advanced stages of the disease, the lungs can no longer supply the body with sufficient oxygen. This then also results in changes in other organs. So the heart has to pump more blood through the lungs. The right part of the heart muscle, which is responsible, thickens as a result of the greater stress, which doctors call a "cor pulmonale". As a result, the heart loses its clout. This can lead to water retention in the legs and in the body, for example.

Because exercise causes discomfort in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, they move less. The result is a reduction in muscle mass, which further reduces physical performance.

In people with normally harmless respiratory infections, lung function can suddenly deteriorate and symptoms increase significantly. These seizures are called medical. Treatment in the hospital is then often necessary. Exacerbations can also be triggered by smoke, exhaust gases and certain weather conditions such as heat, cold and high humidity. Typical warning signs of such acute deterioration are:

  • more sputum
  • discolored sputum, purulent sputum, sputum is thicker than usual
  • more breathlessness than usual
  • more cough than usual
  • higher need for medication
  • Fever, decreased performance, greater tiredness or other non-specific complaints

Worsening breathlessness triggers fear in most people, which in turn can worsen breathlessness. It is therefore good to know what to do in such situations. There are so-called emergency plans for this. They list typical symptoms and describe, among other things, when it is beneficial to change the intake or dosage of medication and to go to the doctor or hospital.