An increased number of red blood cells
(erythrocytosis). This occurs when the person has had low oxygen levels in the
blood (hypoxemia) for a long period of time. Red blood cells carry oxygen in
the blood. Because of damage to the lungs, a person with COPD often cannot get
enough air. The body reacts by producing more red blood cells to try to
increase the amount of oxygen in the blood.
An increased number of
white blood cells.
An increase in the white blood cells that
fight infection (neutrophils) may mean that the person has an infection. An increase
in neutrophils can also occur in response to using oral or intravenous (IV)
An increase in the white blood cells that may be
produced during an allergic reaction (eosinophils) may mean that a
condition such as
asthma is causing the symptoms.
If you have emphysema or chronic bronchitis, you need to be extra vigilant in preventing flu this year. You already know that, with emphysema or chronic bronchitis, it's difficult to breathe under normal circumstances. But the combination of lung disease and flu, a respiratory viral infection, worsens your breathing problem, making it very difficult to breathe through the obstructed, inflamed airways.
In addition, getting flu with emphysema or chronic bronchitis increases the chance of bacterial...