I seem to be doing pretty well with stage 4 COPD but recently have been feeing upper chest aches, abdominal muscle cramps and some acid reflux.
Philpalm's answer is spot on. I would add that it's really important to understand your normal with COPD: how much you cough, how productive that is, when you get short of breath, when do you wheeze, how much exercise you can do, etc. Once you know what your normal looks like then you can begin to tell when things aren't normal.
And that's where an action plan comes in. Part of what you and your new pulmo should discuss is what do you do when your symptoms change? Which thing are normal for you and when should you pay attention to changes? Two things I always watch: can I do today what I did yesterday in the gym and if my blood sugar is more than 20 points higher than normal with no explanation. Neither are on the action plan form, but they are red flags for me, so they're added.
Part of the problem with COPD is that people think they can just "tough out" what looks and feels like a cold and you can't do that with COPD. Exacerbations can go south really quickly, so you don't want to give them any time to settle in. Catching things quickly, before you need the ER, the hospital or the ICU is very important. If you get that sick, you're quite likely to have more lung damage as a result and you can't recover from that.
Here's a good action plan to take with you to your next appointment. Have your doc work with you to fill it out and then pay attention to it!
@A MyCOPDTeam Member , an exacerbation is a sudden, acute worsening of the chronic symptoms normally associated with the disease. It would often (but not necessarily) happen because of a new infection such as cold or flu. Extra mucous production is common, and a change in normal colouration might indicate infection.
Exposure to allergens or pollutants could also cause a non-infectious exacerbation.
We tend to have good days and bad days, but an exacerbation would be beyond one's normal variables. Also a lessening of abilities is noticed.
Medical intervention is often needed, and if you feel you can't cope, seek help.
In your situation, I would recommend you ask about pulmonary rehabilitation courses in your locality. Professionally supervised exercise along with education can improve your norms and teach you strategies for living with copd.
Hoping all's well, I suspect you are okay, but taking in a hell of a lot of new information with your recent diagnosis, some of which may not be applicable to you.
I am sorry to hear that you are struggling. There is an article on our site here about anxiety and some ways to deal with it. I realized after reading it that when we are struggling that sometimes our brains also sabotage us in the form of anxiety. I also discovered that our bodies are getting more oxygen than we think. Hope this helps. Please ind tools to relax and ways to allow you to sleep without fear.
I love water aerobics! I do it 5 days a week at the YMCA. If course I haven't been there since March 9. I also do yoga which helps my breathing a lot.
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