Signs and Symptoms of COPD

What is COPD?

COPD, or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, is a condition involving constriction of the airways and difficulty or discomfort in breathing. COPD makes it feel like something is blocking the pathway to your lungs, making breathing harder. Because COPD symptoms mimic many other conditions, it is often misdiagnosed. Catching this disease early makes a difference in how you can manage it; here are some signs to look for.


Major Symptoms of CPD

When it comes to identifying the signs of COPD, it helps to focus on the “C” of COPD, which stands for “chronic.” A cough is considered if it lasts for at least two months.

  • Coughing:  Wet, mucus-producing, or dry coughs are both signs of COPD
  • Low Drive:  In the early stages of COPD, you may not realize that your energy or drive is diminishing, but it may be because you are not getting enough oxygen.
  • Tightness in your Chest:  When you have COPD, it may feel like there is no room in your lungs to breathe in air, commonly described as a tightening in your chest.
  • Shortness of Breath:  You may experience shortness of breath when you are exerting yourself, but with COPD, you may also experience shortness of breath when you wake in the middle of the night.
  • Recurring Respiratory Infections:  Viral infections often can cause COPD flares, and people with this condition are more prone to them.  These infections make it difficult to clear your lungs of pollutants, dust or other bacteria.
  • Wheezing:  A high-pitched whistling noise when you breathe in and out.

Many of these symptoms are common to other conditions or illnesses, so it is not surprising that COPD gets misdiagnosed so often.  Without knowing the cause of the discomfort, people start changing the way they normally live, many stop their normal exercise routine because they feel short of breath or don’t have the energy to drive.  This leads to more trouble, as less exercise weakens the lungs, and you become more susceptible to the disease progression.  If you or your loved ones are experiencing any or all of these major symptoms of COPD, you should have a conversation with your primary care provider.


This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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