1. Health

Definition of COPD Exacerbation


Updated November 01, 2013

Smoker's Cough

Coughing: A Common Symptom of Chronic Bronchitis

David Freund/istockphoto.com

Definition: In simplest terms, having a COPD exacerbation means you are experiencing a sudden, worsening, or flare-up, of COPD symptoms.

In more in-depth terms, the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) defines a COPD exacerbation as a period in the natural course of the disease that is characterized by a worsening of your baseline symptoms -- such as dyspnea, cough and/or sputum production. This change may well warrant a check-in with the doctor and a modification in your current medication regimen.

The two primary causes of COPD exacerbation are lung infections and air pollution, but sometimes the cause is unknown.

Read What is a COPD Exacerbation? to learn more about causes, signs and symptoms and treatment of COPD exacerbation. Discover the steps you need to take to prevent a COPD exacerbation.


Also Known As: Exacerbation of COPD

Common Misspellings: COPD exaserbation, COPD exaxerbation

Examples: Uncle Joe was recently hospitalized for a COPD exacerbation.

  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. COPD
  4. COPD 101
  5. COPD Exacerbation
  6. Definition of COPD Exacerbation

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.