Signs and Symptoms of COPD
It’s easy to think of shortness of breath and coughing as a normal part of aging, but these could be signs of COPD. That’s why it is important to talk with your healthcare provider as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. COPDcan progress for years without noticeable shortness of breath. Ask your healthcare provider about ordering a spirometry test.
Symptoms of COPD can be different for each person, but common symptoms are:
- Increased shortness of breath
- Frequent coughing (with and without mucus)
- Increased breathlessness
- Tightness in the chest
Not all COPD is the same
There are different types of COPD. Each type may affect how well different treatments work, how your symptoms affect your everyday life, and how they progress. If you have another health condition in addition to COPD (co-morbidity), such as high blood pressure, heart disease, heartburn, depression, or diabetes, this can also affect your COPD and how it is managed.
Here are some things that can help determine your particular type of COPD. Taking these things into consideration can be useful in addition to your spirometry numbers and other factors.
- Do you have a cough? If so, do you cough up mucus on most days for at least three months in a period of at least two years?
- If yes, you may have a chronic bronchitis type of COPD that will respond to different medicines.
- Are your lungs stretched out and larger than normal? If so, this may be more of an emphysema type of COPD. Sometimes it is possible to decrease the size of the big, stretched out places in your lungs.