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Why Do Patients With COPD And Emphysema Always Feel Tired?

Apr 02, 2020

Why do patients with COPD and emphysema always feel tired?


Patients with COPD and emphysema often feel physically weak and weak every day. Fatigue is a phenomenon. Behind this fatigue phenomenon has a certain relationship with the disease, which has related with the patient's breathing, nutrition, psychology, and sleep.


1. Related to dyspnea

The degree of fatigue in patients with lung disease is directly proportional to the degree of dyspnea. The harder it is to breathe, the easier it is to feel tired.


Relieving the symptoms of dyspnea can greatly reduce the patient's fatigue. Pulmonary disease patients have insufficient contractility due to damage to the alveoli, and carbon dioxide will remain in the alveoli, which will lead to increased air pressure in the lungs and insufficient oxygen input. Prolonged itching will cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, tachypnea and difficulty breathing.


2. Related to undernutrition

Because patients with COPD and emphysema have higher resistance when breathing than ordinary people, their relative energy consumption will be relatively large. Therefore, malnutrition will cause patients to feel physically tired and weak.


After the acute exacerbation of the disease, such as respiratory infections, the energy consumption of the patient can rise sharply. Therefore, after a large clinical acute respiratory infection, patients often become more tired than before.


Therefore, patients with lung disease should pay attention to nutrition and more high-quality protein, and fresh vegetables and fruits.


3Related to mood

Fatigue is a feeling that is closely related to the state of mind. Patients with COPD and emphysema not only have to endure the problems caused by the disease, but also because the patient will have stress psychologically. When the patient is scared, nervous or even depressed about the disease, fatigue often has Aggravated.


Therefore, patients need to conduct psychological counseling for themselves, and family members must have more care for patients, so that patients can reduce their psychological burden, face life optimistically, and reduce the fatigue caused by psychological factors.


4. Related to sleep quality

Because COPD and emphysema patients may have symptoms of respiratory obstruction and dyspnea, which will be aggravated at night. Therefore, patients often have trouble sleeping at night, this makes the patient lack of sleep and also causes patients to suffer Feeling lethargic and weak.


Adjust the sleeping position to help patients fall asleep. All the organs in the body can be stretched when sleeping on their back. This sleeping position has no pressure on internal organs, normal blood circulation and sufficient oxygen supply to the brain. However, patients with heart and lung diseases should adopt the right side sleeping position.


The above are the main reasons why COPD and emphysema patients often feel weak and prone to fatigue. But what is the root cause of these diseases? Let ’s take a look together.


The fundamental problem of COPD is hypoxiaAll the serious consequences of COPD are caused by hypoxia. Improving hypoxia is the ultimate goal of COPD treatment!


Patients who need oxygen:

1.PaO255mmH Or SaO288%;   

2.PaO2 betwen 55 mmHg and 60mmHg Or SaO2 at 89%And one of the following conditions: pulmonary hypertension, right heart failure, secondary red blood cell increase (hematocrit> 55%)

Those who meet any of the above two can perform long-term home oxygen therapy.


 Hospital oxygen therapy:

Oxygen therapy method: Generally, a nasal catheter is used, and the flow rate is 1-2 liters / minute. The oxygen concentration is around 30%.

The goal of oxygen therapy: oxygen saturation is above 90%, and oxygen partial pressure is above 60mmHg.

The relationship between concentration of oxygen outlet and flow rate is as follows (5LPM for example)

Flow rateL/min







The concentration of oxygen outlet v/v








The relation between concentration of oxygen inhaled and flow rate is as follows:(5LPM for example

Flow rateL/min







The concentration of oxygen inhaledv/v








Home oxygen therapy

How many liter oxygen concentrator is suitable for patients who with COPD?

Home oxygen therapy requires a 3--10 liter oxygen concentrator (depending on the condition). According to the relationship between the concentration of inhaled oxygen and the flow rate,  the patient can inhale only 41% oxygen that can be into his/her body from a 5-liter oxygen concentrator. This is an ideal value. In fact, patients with COPD can only get more than 30% of their oxygen from the 5-liter oxygen concentrator. That is, the doctor said the patients who can can be discharged should be use the oxygen with a low oxygen concentration of about 30%, which refers to a 5 liter oxygen concentrator. Whether the patient is using 3 liters, 5 liters, or 10 liters, it depends on the patient's blood oxygen saturation at 90%. The above (generally 94% is enough) is the goal. For example, patients with COPD use a 5 liter machine but the blood oxygen saturation is below 90%, then a large flow oxygen concentrator of 5 liters or more is used. Oxygen therapy time: from 7 to 8 hours per day to more than 10 hours, very severe over 20 hours.