Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is More Than Just About Lungs

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a condition in which the lungs’ airways become narrow as well as inflamed. The air sacs are damaged, causing difficulty and irritation in breathing. This disease can be caused by many things, smoking being one of the most common ones. As time passes, the condition of the lungs worsens and they get more damaged. This also affects the breathing, making it increasingly difficult to do so. The most crucial problem here is the process of oxygenating blood. As the lungs become damaged, they are no longer able to properly get enough amount of oxygen into the blood system and get rid of the carbon dioxide which is present in excess amounts.

This condition leads to shortness of breath and other problems. Over time, the symptoms worsen, which unfortunately, are difficult to be eliminated, even with the help of treatment. They keep on accumulating, making the patient’s health worsen with time.

The matter of concern here is that many people who suffer from COPD when checked for oxygen saturation through overnight oximetry testing show normal oxygen saturation levels. This gives rise to questions that if the level of oxygen in their blood is normal, then why do they experience shortness of breath?

Through testing for problems with lungs only, we may not find an explanation for this dilemma. However, it is noteworthy that COPD mostly occurs with other conditions, one of them being heart failure. It has been reported by the American College of Cardiology that COPD and heart failure are chronic co-morbid conditions; both of them co-exist quite frequently. The symptoms are difficult to differentiate and associate as they overlap, making it problematic to know which of the two is causing the symptoms. When patients have symptoms such as coughing spells in night, breathlessness with exertion, or a combination of coughing throughout the night and breathlessness, doctors prescribe a physical examination to make it clear; whether the symptoms are caused by COPD or heart failure.

When the heart becomes weak and fails to pump sufficient amounts of oxygen throughout the body, this affects all the organs, muscles, cells, and tissues. The symptoms that arise are quite common to that of COPD. The muscles start to weaken and weight-loss occurs. The patient also finds it difficult to do any kind of strenuous physical exercise.

When people, who have COPD at a stable level, experience heart failure, it is highly possible that their oxygen saturation level may be in the normal range. The reason is that when people experience symptoms of heart failure, it still takes a while for their oxygen levels to show a drop. It is only over time that organs, muscles, tissues, and cells get affected by the lack of oxygen.

To improve the pulmonary functioning and keep the oxygen levels in the normal range, you will need to keep them under constant check. This can be easily done with an overnight pulse oximetry test. You will also need to maintain a healthy diet and have exercise routine.