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 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 indicate that a
condition such as
asthma is causing the symptoms.
After the information is gathered and the assessment made, you and your health care provider will develop a plan for dealing with each problem. Some plans are called "short term treatment plans." These plans deal only with the specific problems identified during that visit with your health care provider. For COPD patients, a treatment plan that includes longer term health care issues is often best.
A treatment plan is not something that your health care provider can simply give to you. Instead,...