6 Signs Your COPD is Getting Worse

The HealthCentral Editorial Team | Jun 21st 2013 Jun 7th 1994

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Morning headaches and morning dizziness can be caused by several health conditions, but it often signals a lack of oxygen and a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood that is caused by not getting enough air at night.

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Sleeping upright

Shortness of breath can make sleeping and moving around more difficult. If you find yourself stacking pillows higher or sleeping upright in a chair to make breathing easier, you may be experiencing a COPD exacerbation.

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Unrelenting fatigue

This lack of a full-night’s rest–along with the persistent lack of enough oxygen–can cause a relentless fatigue that is difficult to overcome.

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Swollen ankles

Lung and heart damage from COPD can lead to swollen ankles. If these symptoms get worse it could mean that your COPD is getting worse.

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Shallow breathing

Most people breathe from their abdomen, but people with serious COPD often breathe from their chest, and their breathing can be irregular.

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Changes in your cough

Perhaps more than anything, a change in your cough can indicate a change in your condition. If you find you’re coughing up more than normal, or if your sputum has changed color, it is certainly time to see your doctor.

NEXT: 9 Ways to Keep Your Airways Clear and Lungs Clean