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Sudden worsening

I am wondering if COPD can worsen suddenly. Specifically, can I experience increased shortness of breath "overnight," or become more fatitigued suddenly? I have been told I have stage 3 copd/emphysema.

  1. I should have been more precise. I understand exacerbations. What I’m wondering is if end stage COPD can come on suddenly; moving from stage 3 to 4 w/ no warning.

    1. Thank you Lyn, and Leon. I'll choose exacerbation, as much as I don't like those! 😀

    2. Hi revbobmat - thanks for the clarification! I see that Lyn, my colleague, has already responded once you clarified your concern. I think she made a good point - one I agree with. COPD is such an insidious disease, that it is extremely unlikely to progress from one stage to another so quickly.
      I understand that, even though you are 'not fond' of exacerbations, it may be preferable over an advancing stage at this point. Exacerbations can be difficult to manage but, in general, one may be able to get past the episode with treatment.
      It's always good to speak with you!
      Leon (site moderator

  2. hi again, revbobmat - nice to see you continuing to participate here in our online community. You've posed an excellent question - thank you! You may be aware that COPD affects everyone differently however, for many folks with COPD, what you described can, in fact occur. There is actually a term that is used to describe a sudden worsening of one's condition - it is called an exacerbation. It certainly could be applied to the situation you shared here (an increased shortness of breath or even an acute sense of fatigue). You may want to discuss this aspect of your condition with your physician. As well, I thought you might gain some additional insight from any of these articles which focus on this very topic:
    What are you able to do for yourself when this happens to you? Is there anything further you are able to share with the community at this time?
    Please know, you are always welcome here!
    All the best,
    Leon (site moderator

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