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    COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) - Ongoing Concerns

    COPD gradually gets worse over time.

    Shortness of breath gets worse as COPD gets worse.

    Recommended Related to COPD

    COPD Diet Guidelines: Protein, Calcium, Reducing Sodium, and More

    In the previous sections, you found some practical and useful tips to help you deal with many of the tough nutritional issues you may face daily. As important is an understanding of why some of the other essential dietary elements are needed to maintain health. The list of nutrients needed by our bodies is long. However, we will discuss only a few that are especially important in lung disease. Also, some medicines for lung disease react with some nutrients. You should consult with your doctor...

    Read the COPD Diet Guidelines: Protein, Calcium, Reducing Sodium, and More article > >

    • If you are diagnosed early, before you have a lot of lung damage, you may have very mild symptoms, even when you are active.
    • If you are diagnosed later, you may have already lost much of your lung function.
      • If you are active, you may be short of breath during activities that didn't used to cause this problem.
      • If you are not very active, you may not notice how much shortness of breath you have until your COPD gets worse.
    • If you have had COPD for many years, you may be short of breath even when you are at rest. Even simple activities may cause very bad shortness of breath.

    It's very important to stop smoking. If you keep smoking after being diagnosed with COPD, the disease will get worse faster, your symptoms will be worse, and you will have a greater risk of having other serious health problems.

    The lung damage that causes symptoms of COPD doesn't heal and cannot be repaired. But if you have mild to moderate COPD and you stop smoking, you can slow the rate at which breathing becomes more difficult. You will never be able to breathe as well as you would have if you had never smoked, but you may be able to postpone or avoid more serious problems with breathing.

    Complications

    Other health problems from COPD may include:

    • More frequent lung infections, such as pneumonia.
    • An increased risk of thinning bones (osteoporosis), especially if you use oral corticosteroids.
    • Problems with weight. If chronic bronchitis is the main part of your COPD, you may need to lose weight. If emphysema is your main problem, you may need to gain weight and muscle mass.
    • Heart failure affecting the right side of the heart (cor pulmonale).
    • A collapsed lung (pneumothorax). COPD can damage the lung's structure and allow air to leak into the chest cavity.
    • Sleep problems because you are not getting enough oxygen into your lungs.
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