7 Signs Your COPD Is Getting Worse

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is a lung disease that lowers the quantity of oxygen that can reach the lungs of the individual who has it. As time passes, the individual will have more challenging and harder trouble breathing as oxygen will be inhaled less than required. In a typical human, the air sacs are considered to have an elastic form.

When airflow enters the lung, the air sacs expand, and when airflow exits the lung, the inflated air sacs deflate and return to their normal condition. When a person suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, the air flowing into the lungs is lesser than the airflow that enters a person's lungs, which is not suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Due to this condition, the body's organs do not get the required amount of oxygen, leading to trouble in their routine functions. There are many reasons why this happens.

Some of these include the air sacs being less elastic due to which they do not inflate as much as they can when the airflow enters into the lungs, the walls through which the airflow enters the lungs have become thick due to which the amount of entering the lungs is lesser than the amount that can usually flow into the lungs, and many more.

Types, Symptoms, and other factors

There are a few reasons why a person suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Some of the primary reasons include exposure to substances that can cause damage to the lungs for a long time. These include cigarette smoke, tobacco, pipe, air pollution, harmful chemical fumes, and many more. Those working in specific fields may also face this medical condition.

Two types of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease exist Emphysema and Chronic bronchitis. Emphysema targets and makes the air sacs, as well as the walls from which the air flows, more and more inelastic. On the other side, Chronic Bronchitis swells the airway lining by making it irritated and inflamed over some time. People suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease usually suffer from both types. The severity of both of these types varies from person to person.

There are many symptoms to detect if a person suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Some of these symptoms include wheezing, coughing that produces a lot of mucus, feeling tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, unusual weight loss, colds, swelling of legs, and many more. Many factors increase the chances of a person suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Some of these factors include smoking, age, asthma, genetics, and long-term exposure to various irritants in polluted environments that cause damage to the lungs.

Symptoms that COPD is getting Worse

Many factors can indicate that a person suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Seven of the most general factors are discussed in detail in the following.

  • Frequent shortness of breath − If the person suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease starts to feel a frequent increase in the shortness of breath over time, it is a sign that the person's condition is worsening. Mild conditions can be treated by increasing the medication the person already consumes.

  • Wheezing − Wheezing can be defined as the condition wherein a high-pitched whistling sound is created whenever a person breathes. This happens because the airway starts to get thicker and narrower. If the condition worsens, the person should consult his healthcare provider or doctor as soon as possible.

  • Mucus Change − The condition or process of exacerbations can cause a usual increase in the amount of phlegm a person can produce. It can also change color from clear to yellow. This factor is usually one of the very first and early signs that depict that the person's condition of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease has started to increase.

  • Severe cough − The person suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease starts to get a severe cough that stays persistent and consistent for some weeks. A person can also get an additional X-ray scan to confirm the status of his condition since a severe cough can indicate other health issues related to the heart.

  • Fatigue − COPD can cause normal to mild fatigue in a person. One can contact his healthcare provider or doctors if he feels tired throughout the day for a medium to a long time to take proper medications to treat the fatigue.

  • Oedema − One suffering from COPD often suffers from edema in the most severe cases wherein the person's legs and feet swell. The swelling occurs due to a condition called pulmonary hypertension which is caused due to lack of oxygen and increased pressure in the vessels. This can be fatal if the condition persists for a long time.

  • Feeling disoriented − It is not a primary factor or sign that indicates that the person's Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is getting worse since this can also indicate other health-related issues. One who suffers from COPD feels disoriented when waking up. It usually happens due to a lack of oxygen intake while he is asleep at night. This frequent factor indicates that the person's condition is worsening with time. A person should urgently consult an expert or health care provider to tackle this situation before the condition worsens.


There are many easy measures to prevent one from suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. The simplest method is to quit smoking so that lung irritants do not enter the body and functions can be normal. Multiple ways exist to treat and prevent the disease from becoming more complicated. Some of these factors include lifestyle changes such as avoiding staying in a polluted environment, consuming prescribed medications such as vaccines or antibiotics to treat the lung infection, or opting for surgeries if no other method is useful. Suppose a person shows any of the signs mentioned above, he should contact his doctors immediately since the condition of the lungs starts to decline if these signs are not treated immediately, which can affect the body badly.

Updated on: 20-Feb-2023


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