Skip to content

    COPD Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) - When to Call a Doctor

    Call 911 or other emergency services now if:

    Call your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if you have been diagnosed with COPD and you:

    Recommended Related to COPD

    COPD Test and Treatment Types and Categories

    Many parts of a treatment plan are the same for all individuals with COPD. The following outline shows general categories of a treatment plan. It is a sample outline. Diagnostic Testing Pulmonary Function Tests Spirometry More complete testing including lung volumes and diffusing capacity Pulse oximetry and/or arterial blood gases Other lab tests Blood chemistry, kidney and liver function tests (LFTs), Complete Blood Count...

    Read the COPD Test and Treatment Types and Categories article > >

    • Cough up a couple of tablespoons of blood.
    • Have shortness of breath or wheezing that is quickly getting worse.
    • Start having new chest pain.
    • Are coughing more deeply or more often, especially if you notice an increase in mucus (sputum) or a change in the color of the mucus you cough up.
    • Have increased swelling in your legs or belly.
    • Have a high fever [over 101°F (38.3°C)].
    • Develop flu-like symptoms.

    If your symptoms (cough, mucus, and/or shortness of breath) suddenly get worse and stay worse, you may be having a COPD flare-up, or exacerbation. Quick treatment for a flare-up may help keep you out of the hospital.

    Call your doctor soon for an appointment if:

    • Your medicine is not working as well as it had been.
    • Your symptoms are slowly getting worse, and you have not seen a doctor recently.
    • You have a cold and:
      • Your fever lasts longer than 2 to 3 days.
      • Breathlessness occurs or becomes noticeably worse.
      • Your cough gets worse.
    • You have not been diagnosed with COPD but are having symptoms. A history of smoking (even in the past) greatly increases the likelihood that symptoms are from COPD.
    • You cough up any amount of blood.

    Talk to your doctor

    If you have been diagnosed with COPD, talk with your doctor at your next regular appointment about:

    1 | 2
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    man talking to his doctor
    Check your COPD risk.
    woman using inhaler
    What is the top cause of this condition?
     
    chest x-ray
    7 early warning signs.
    Senior couple stretching
    10 exercises for people With COPD.
     
    Bronchitis Overview
    Article
    Senior woman blowing dandelion
    ARTICLE
     
    Living With Copd
    VIDEO
    human lung graphic
    Article
     
    Energy Boosting Foods
    Slideshow
    red heart and ekg
    Article
     
    Living With Copd
    Article
    Senior couple stretching
    Slideshow