It’s not always easy to tell when your loved one’s COPD is getting worse. Sometimes symptoms are temporarily worse, while other times the more severe symptoms are the new reality.
Her Symptoms Are Consistently Worse
The biggest signs that your loved one’s COPD is worsening is that her symptoms are also worsening. This might mean that she’s short of breath more often or that she’s wheezing or coughing more. Your loved one might find that her symptoms are lasting longer or are responding more slowly to medications that worked well for her in the past. Another sign might be that her doctor has changed her medication or the dosage of her current medication.
Your Loved One Is Embarrassed about Her COPD Symptoms
For some people with COPD, the whole situation is embarrassing. If your loved one uses oxygen, special inhalers, or has severe wheezing or coughing, she may worry that she’s causing, even more, attention to herself. This can make your loved one do things such as refusing to go anywhere and staying home all the time. COPD isn’t anything to be embarrassed about, but worsening symptoms may make your loved one feel that she should be embarrassed.
She’s Having Trouble with Daily Activities
COPD burns a lot of energy and it makes life more difficult for your loved one. Imagine trying to do everything that you do during a day but with something constricting your breathing. Your loved one might need extra help, too, either from you or from senior care providers. This can be a scary time for your loved one because she’s more dependent now on other people than she might have been before.
She’s Anxious or Depressed
Having trouble breathing is extremely stressful for your loved one and if she’s having increasing trouble with breathing, she’s likely to be under even more stress. This buildup of stressful activity can start to make your loved one feel anxious or even depressed as she tries to manage her symptoms. Be sure to mention any signs of depression to your loved one’s doctor so that she can treat her depression.
To get a full idea of where exactly your loved one stands in regards to her COPD, make an appointment with her doctor for further assessment.