British Lung Foundation
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Infection or not?

I'm a COPD old fart. I was originally prescribed 2 lpm oxygen for 16 hrs a day. I sleep with a nasal cannula/concentrater connection. I was comfortable without oxygen support for long periods during the day but will connect to a portable liquid oxygen supply if I undertake anything really "strenuous". Recently I suddenly began to experience exaggerated breathlessness. The only relief is to increase my liquid oxygen supply from 2 lpm to 4 lpm (the concentrater is locked at 2 lpm). At rest my breathing returns to "normal" But when I lie down the breathlessness becomes worse and I have to sit up and attempt to "cough up". My sputum is not discoloured but, again recently, I have been finding it increasingly difficult to bring it up. I know that COPD is degenerative but does that imply that it will suddenly go from bearable to unbearable in the space of 24 hours. Or could it be that I am suffering an infection without the usual indicators? I have an emergency pack of Amoxicillin and Prednisolone and have booked a date with my respiratory team . Has anyone out there experienced this phenomenon?

3 Replies

It could well be something brewing , I read that Pollys nurse thought she was having an exacerbation without infection and I didn't know that could happen 😕 what brings on sudden breathlessness is if I am anxious in any way. Glad you are seeing someone soon but if you feel worried book an appointment and get checked over soon as you can.huff xxx

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I had a bad exacerbation which had me spending eight days in hospital late last year without any infection so it is wise to be seeing someone about it,


Two things; I have been told that people with COPD should not increase their oxygen level without instruction from their doctor or consultant, as too much oxygen can result in retention of carbon dioxide; one symptom of that can be headaches. Also, to help you cough up the phlegm on your lungs you could try Active Cycle of Breathing Technique (ACBT) which some people call huffing. There are many websites with instructions on the internet. If I lie down without doing the ACBT I have 'rattling" in my chest and cough and cannot get to sleep so I do ACBT every bedtime - I also need to do it in the mornings!


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