A client is admitted to the hospital with exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The nurse understands which pathological changes to be occurring?


•An exacerbation of COPD is a sudden worsening of symptoms (shortness of breath, increase or change in phlegm) lasting several days, often triggered by infection or pollutants.

•Airway inflammation, mucus gland hyperplasia, mechanical loading, fibrosis, and an increased number of goblet cells are pathological changes seen in exacerbation of COPD.

•Mechanical loading refers to external resistance due to pathological changes, which the lungs must work against to breathe. In COPD patients, the diaphragm muscle works against increased mechanical loads due to airflow limitation and geometrical changes of the thorax from pulmonary hyperinflation.

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