Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, causes several side effects, including a persistent cough that produces mucus, a tight feeling in the chest and shortness of breath, particularly after exercising, according to WebMD. During COPD flares, symptoms exacerbate, with coughs producing more mucus that is thicker or changes color.
During a COPD flare, some COPD sufferers must go to the hospital to get symptoms under control, notes WebMD. Some people may feel a greater tightness in their chests or feel as if they are more short of breath than normal. Often, a flare in COPD results from air pollution or an infection such as pneumonia or acute bronchitis.
Although there is no cure for COPD, as of 2015, there are treatment options that make living with the disease more bearable, explains WebMD. People can slow down the disease’s progression through lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation, and avoiding triggers that set off exacerbations, including air pollution. Medications can limit the effect of COPD symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or coughing, including both long- and short-term medication options. Regular exercise and losing weight if necessary can also increase overall health and stave off attacks. Depending on the severity of the disease, oxygen supplementation may improve functionality and lessen symptoms.