COPD Exacerbation: Stop It Early!

You should recognize the signs that you may be in the early stages of having a com- plication or exacerbation of your COPD. Exacerbation (or “exasperation” as many know it) is a worsening of your condition, such as pneumonia, that will often land you in the hospital. Acting quickly is your best defense.

If you start to experience any of these signs, notify your physician. If you have already discussed your treatment course should the symptoms arise, now is the time to start it!

  • Bring eath in a fast and shallow pattern, as if you’ve just exercised very intensely
  • Coughing
  • Exiencing per shortness of  breath  at rest or with minimal activity, such as walking from one room to another
  • Fileing excessively sleepy or confused viHnga lower  oxygen   levels than normal

•Noticing increasing amounts of mucus, which is often yellow, green, tan or even blood-tinged

  • Wheezing more than usual

The American Thoracic Society and European Respiratory Society have estab- lished guidelines to treat people with an acute exacerbation of their COPD. They recommend a home-based management approach with a course of oral cortico- steroids of 14 days or less, along with antibiotics. If you have been hospitalized, they recommend attending a pulmonary rehabilitation program within three weeks after discharge. Research has shown this will reduce readmissions and improve your quality of life.

New Therapies for PAH

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a condition characterized by high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. If these arteries are narrowed, the heart has to work harder to pump the blood through them. In PAH, the body produces low levels of prostacyclin. Prostacyclin is a natural substance that helps keep arteries in the lungs open and working properly. Pros- tacyclin therapy can be given by infusion through a pump, inhaled using a nebulizer, or by mouth.

Ventavis® (iloprost) is a prostacyclin therapy taken using a nebulizer. Endothelin is also a naturally occurring chemical in the body. People with PAH have high levels of endothelin which can cause blood vessels to tighten. Traceleer® (bosentan tablets) is a medicine that blocks the effects of the extra endothelin their bodies produce.image047-7

A recent study from research- ers in China showed giving people with PAH the combi- nation of bosen- tan and iloprost improved their ability to exercise and their quality of life. The article was published in the April 2017 issue of Respiratory Care. You might discuss the possibility of this treatment plan with your physician.

Stay active with the six minute exercise program by PHenomSelf part of your daily routine. It is found at www.youtube.com/ watch?v=uIAWGizLZwIuIAWGizLZwI