COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a very serious disease of the lungs which can prove to be life threatening. There are several complications that can arise from this disease, eight of which are listed below.
Common Complications Of COPD
Respiratory infections including pneumonia, influenza, and even the common cold are very common in people suffering from COPD.
The lungs are weak and cannot function at their best. Even a slight cold can cause severe breathing problems. This in turn can lead to further damage to the lungs. It is therefore advised that people suffering from COPD have regular flu shots in order to avoid complications that can occur due to even mild respiratory infections.
The reason for heart disease being related to COPD is still unknown. However, studies indicate that the risk of heart disease is very strong in people suffering from COPD. It has also been found that it is mainly the right side of the heart that is affected due to the enlargement of the left ventricle. Apart from the regular checkups with regard to COPD, patients should also have regular Cardio examinations.
Patients with COPD, who also suffer from chronic bronchitis, have an increased risk of developing lung cancer. While chronic bronchitis is a part of COPD, not all patients suffer from it. However, those who suffer from it have an increased chance of developing cancer of the lungs.
COPD is a debilitating disease that comes in the way of leading a normal lifestyle. As the disease progresses, activities such as exercise, taking care of oneself, sex, and even looking after the home become almost impossible. Forced into leading a sedentary lifestyle and the knowledge that this disease is life threatening, together with sleep disturbances bring about severe depression.
Exacerbation Of Symptoms
Sudden bouts of coughing, shortness of breath and an increase in the production of mucus are other complications arising from COPD.
These could be the result of a little bit of exertion. Sometimes, this exacerbation of symptoms occurs for no reason at all, leaving the patient feeling absolutely helpless.
Osteoporosis is a condition wherein the bones become weak, brittle and porous. The bones are at a risk of breaking even with a small fall or injury. Osteoporosis is linked with COPD in patients who are on corticosteroids for their pulmonary disease. This is known as steroid-induced osteoporosis.
This is one of the most common complications that arises from COPD. Due to the lack of oxygen, there is difficulty in breathing.
Also, the exchange of gases that takes place in the lungs does not happen the way they normally should. This in turn leads to a very disturbed sleep, lack of sleep, and even waking up in the morning feeling unrested.
Pneumothorax (Collapsed Lung)
A small hole in the lung causes gases or air to leak into the space around the lungs. As a result of this, the lung collapses. Patients who suffer from COPD are prone to this condition because their lungs are weak and these holes can develop very easily.