Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, simply referred to as COPD and breathing difficulty, is a group of diseases that affects the lung. These diseases block the flow of air as you breathe out thus making the process of breathing to be difficult and often painful. The most common conditions observed in COPD are Emphysema and Chronic Asthmatic Bronchitis. In all cases of COPD and breathing difficulty, the airways are damaged such that the exchange of gasses (Carbon dioxide and Oxygen) in the lungs is interfered with.
COPD: Cause of Sleep Disorders
Most of the activities of the body during sleep are at their lowest. However, these activities such as breathing and blood flow have to be maintained or else you would die. If these activities are interrupted at night as you sleep, sleep is definitely affected. COPD and breathing difficulty affect the pattern of breathing as you sleep and therefore sleep becomes a nightmare. Lack of sleep can also be as a side effect of the medication used to treat the disease.
COPD and breathing difficulty does not affect all patients in the same degree and therefore sleep is affected at different rates. However, persons with COPD and breathing difficulty are known to be affected more by insomnia, nightmares and daytime sleepiness than the healthy population. In fact, studies show that more than 50% of COPD and breathing difficulty patients report disturbance in sleep quality.
COPD Side Effects
- Sleepiness during the day.
- Chronic fatigue.
- Poor concentration.
- General lethargy.
- Snoring during sleep.
- Exaggerated symptoms of COPD and breathing difficulty.
Lack of sleep in COPD and breathing difficulty is known to affect the lung’s capacity. Forced Vital Capacity and Forced Expiratory Volume are reduced with every night of sleep lost. In view of this and the fact that the conditions affect person over the age 40, it’s easy to understand why COPD and breathing difficulty kills many people. In the US, COPD and its complications kill about 120,000 people annually. About 12 million people are diagnosed annually with the disease in the US.
COPD: Symptoms and Remedies
In the early stages of the disease, the patient coughs in the morning. This cough is followed by a noisy breathing sound. With time, the lungs enlarge and are shaped like a barrel. Other symptoms of the disease include:
- Funny sounds after and during breathing such as wheezing, whistling and hissing.
- Breathing difficulty.
- Chest pains.
- Erectile dysfunction (E.D)
- Frequent urination at night.
- Lose of weight.
In general, there is no cure for COPD and breathing difficulty. All the medications given are aimed at reducing the symptoms. The management measures usually involve use of drug and behavior change remedies. COPD and breathing difficulty is caused by smoking and other environmental factors in the air. Part of the management measures includes avoiding the causative factors. Most times the patient is given supplemental oxygen during sleep.
Here are tips on how to cope with lack of sleep in COPD and breathing difficulty:
- Make the bedroom environment conducive for sleep.
- Wake up and go to sleep at the same time everyday.
- Let the bedroom be place for sex and sleep only; work and other activities should be avoided in the bedroom.
- Eat a balanced diet rich in proteins.
- Always have all your medication with you and take all them as prescribed