An acute COPD exacerbation means progressive and long-term damage to your lungs, which affect air flow to the lungs. It can be very harmful because they can cause further damage to the lungs.
An exacerbation can range from mild to life-threatening. The longer you have COPD, the more severe the flare-ups will be. Acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will cause morbidity, hospital admissions, and even mortality, and strongly influence health-related quality of life. Some patients are prone to frequent exacerbations. They would experience both physiologic deterioration and increased airway inflammation.
In general, acute exacerbations can be considered as a sudden worsening of COPD symptoms that typically lasts for several days. It is also known as acute exacerbations of chronic bronchitis or chronic emphysema. Actually, it represents the whole progress of symptoms’ flaring up and getting much worse. There are a lot of instinctive factors. It may be triggered by an infection with bacteria or viruses or by environmental pollution. Typically, among all the factors, infection causes 75% of acute exacerbations or more. Bacteria can roughly be found in nearly 25% of cases, with viruses in another 25%, and with both bacteria and viruses in another 25%.
There are a variety of warning signs of acute COPD exacerbations. First of all, you may suddenly have more trouble breathing or make more noise. These flare-ups are often linked to a lung infection caused by a virus or bacteria, such as a cold or some other illness. Smoggy or dirty air can also make your symptoms get worse in a hurry. Noisy breathing is one of early signs of acute exacerbation. It means that your breath makes strange noises. Wheezing implies mucus or pus is blocking your airways. Gurgling or rattling could mean fluid in your lungs. What’s more, if you feel like you have to use your chest muscles to breathe instead of your diaphragm. That’s irregular breathing. The breathing becomes uneven. Another sign is worse coughing. It’s more severe or you cough more often than usual. It gets worse when you lie down. You may see a bluish tint around your lips or notice that your nails seem blue or purple. Your skin looks yellow or gray. The changes in skin or nail color is dangerous. Trouble in sleeping and eating should raise your awareness. You may lose appetites and don’t feel like eating. It is not easy for you to get to sleep. You can’t talk, which is a late and dangerous sign of worsening breathing. You have to use hand gestures instead of words to let someone know what is wrong with you or what you want to say. Moreover, early-morning headache is another sign. You start the day with a throbbing head because of a buildup of carbon dioxide in your blood. Swollen ankles or legs or belly pain are symptoms linked to problems with your heat or lungs. Lastly, a high temperature could be a sign of infection and an oncoming exacerbation. If you catch a fever, you should pay attention to it.
If you have been diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, you should prevent an acute exacerbation from occurring.