COPD – Signs and symptoms Health

COPD – Signs and symptoms

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, commonly known as COPD, includes three different conditions. These are emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive asthma. These conditions cause problems with breathing and keep progressing over time. The most common symptoms associated with COPD are breathlessness, persistent cough, and thick and colored phlegm.

Depending on the progression of the diseases, COPD signs and symptoms can keep changing. Here’s a list of some of the most common COPD signs and symptoms that should not be overlooked.

Early COPD signs
The severity of COPD symptoms can also vary from individual to individual. When COPD is in its early stages, the symptoms can be extremely mild, and one might not even notice them. But since COPD conditions progress over time, the symptoms can also become severe. Some of the early signs of COPD are mentioned below:

  • Chronic cough
    One of the first signs of COPD is a cough that does not go away. When a person has COPD in its early stages, they can experience persistent chesty cough. Chronic cough is a persistent cough that lasts longer than eight weeks. A cough is usually our body’s protective reaction to an irritant. Coughing helps in removing mucus and phlegm from the body. However, it can be due to an underlying, more serious condition when the cough does not go away.
  • Excess production of mucus
    Another early symptom of COPD can be the production of mucus in excess. Mucus is important for the body to maintain the moisture of the airways. It is also responsible for preventing germs and any other irritants from reaching the lungs. When there is an irritant in the body, it leads to mucus production in excess and eventually causes cough. Smoking is a common cause of mucus production and coughing. Exposure to irritants for long durations can lead to lung damage and cause COPD.
  • Breathlessness and fatigue
    When there is an obstruction in the air passages, it can make breathing difficult. This causes shortness of breath which is a common symptom associated with COPD. Initially, the shortness of breath can only occur after a workout. But with time, this can get worse. Some COPD patients stop or reduce their amount of workouts to manage their breathing. However, this makes their body less fit.

Signs of COPD getting worse
There are certain indications that suggest that COPD is not mild anymore. Any of these signs should be taken seriously. These include symptoms get worse within hours or days, feeling tired quickly, and unusual bouts of insomnia or feeling confused around people or facing difficulty in waking up. Oxygen levels lower than usual as per measurement on pulse oximeter or feeling out of breath in simple tasks like taking a shower and walking are few signs that point toward the condition.

COPD signs that indicate one should call a doctor
There are certain signs that one should be careful of. If one notices any of the following signs for 24 hours, they should consult the doctor. These include constant coughing or feeling out of breath, daily routine being affected by being out of breath, coughing up more gunk than usual, and coughing up gunk is green, yellow, or rust-colored. A high fever that persists and feeling dizziness or light-headedness are a few signs to look out for.

Symptoms of COPD
There are many other symptoms of COPD, and it is important to understand these before there is serious damage to the lungs. This is especially the case if one is a smoker. Some of the common symptoms that should be noted include the following:

  • Wheezing
    Wheezing regularly can be a sign of COPD. It is better to check with the doctor.
  • Blue lips or fingernails
    Discoloration or lips and fingernails and color-changing to blue are signs of COPD.
  • Fatigue
    If one is facing fatigue sooner than normal, it might indicate COPD.
  • Frequent cold
    The occurrence of cold again and again can be a sign of COPD. A regular cold usually gets better in a few days, and the occurrence is not more than once or twice in a season.
  • Loss of weight
    Weight loss without trying can be a sign of COPD.
  • Blocked throat
    If one has to clear their throat time and again, this may indicate COPD.