Is COPD or CHF Making It Hard for You to Breathe?
When you have COPD, pressure within your lungs can cause fluid to accumulate in the tissues of your heart, leading to the development of congestive heart failure (CFH). But COPD and CHF can occur independently of each other as well.
A number of the symptoms of COPD and CHF resemble each other, while others are different. Let’s compare them.
Signs of COPD
Here are some characteristics of COPD.
- Fatigue – Simple activities may tire you out quickly.
- Shortness of breath – Taking a deep breath may be impossible, while exhaling may also be difficult and take longer than inhaling. As you exhale you may hear small crackling, wheezing, or popping sounds coming from your chest, and it may be impossible for you to take a deep breath. If you have emphysema, you may breathe rapidly.
- Cough – You may have a harsh cough accompanied by spasms and frequent repeated coughing episodes. Your cough will likely produce phlegm – this can be a lot or just a little.
- Confusion – During acute flare-ups of COPD, your brain may not get enough oxygen. You may feel panicky, irritable, disoriented, confused, or sleepy. You may suffer from headaches.
- Swelling – Your legs and feet may swell.
- Pain – Your chest and abdomen may feel sore because your muscles have to work so hard to help you breathe. If you have frequent coughing spells they can contribute to chest and abdominal discomfort too.
- Pink or blue skin – Your complexion may be pink or blue and you may bruise easily. Your skin may be frail and thin.
- Protruding veins – The muscles and veins in your neck may protrude.
- Bloating – You may suffer from constipation, gas, and bloating, causing your stomach to protrude.
- Barrel chest – Chronic emphysema can cause your chest to take on a barrel shape, because air gets trapped in your lung tissues. The small structures, called alveoli, stay inflated like tiny balloons.
- Frequent infections – Chronic bronchitis is characterized by the occurrence of frequent respiratory infections.
- Anxiety – You may feel anxious frequently, especially at night. Depression may occur.
- Weight changes – You may gain or lose weight.
- Dizziness – COPD dizziness is a common symptom many sufferers experience.
Complications of COPD
COPD can cause the right side of your heart to enlarge. This is a serious condition called cor pulmonale. Lung infections may arise as a complication of chronic bronchitis. You are more susceptible to getting influenza and pneumonia. Peptic ulcer disease and gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) are more common among individuals who have COPD when compared with people who don’t have COPD, as there is a connection between acid reflux and COPD. You may develop acute respiratory failure.
Next page: signs of CHF.