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What are some early signs of a COPD flare-up?

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One obvious sign is shortness of breath. You might notice it during light physical activity or even when you are at rest.

Other things you should watch out for:

You should call your doctor at once if you or a loved one with COPD are showing symptoms of a flare-up.

  • Noisy breathing
  • Irregular breathing
  • Worse coughing
  • Changes in skin or nail color
  • Trouble sleeping and eating
  • You can't talk
  • Early-morning headaches
  • Swollen ankles or legs or belly pain
  • Fever

From: Signs of a COPD Flare-Up WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Breathe: The Lung Association (Canada): “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease -- Flare-ups.”

COPD Foundation: “Staying Healthy and Avoiding Exacerbations.”

Neil Schachter, MD, professor of pulmonary medicine and medical director of Respiratory Care Department, Mount Sinai Center, New York.

Care Community: “Caring for Others: Breathing Problems.”

European Respiratory Journal : “Standards for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with COPD: a summary of the ATS/ERS position paper.”

National Lung Health Education Program: “Lung -- COPD and Asthma.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "COPD: Learn More Breathe Better."

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on March 14, 2019

SOURCES:

Breathe: The Lung Association (Canada): “Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease -- Flare-ups.”

COPD Foundation: “Staying Healthy and Avoiding Exacerbations.”

Neil Schachter, MD, professor of pulmonary medicine and medical director of Respiratory Care Department, Mount Sinai Center, New York.

Care Community: “Caring for Others: Breathing Problems.”

European Respiratory Journal : “Standards for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with COPD: a summary of the ATS/ERS position paper.”

National Lung Health Education Program: “Lung -- COPD and Asthma.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "COPD: Learn More Breathe Better."

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on March 14, 2019

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When should I call 911 about my COPD flare-up?

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