COPD signs and symptoms might not surprise you. The thing that will surprise you, unfortunately, is how advanced the disease can be before those signs and symptoms show up. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that constricts and obstructs the air that flows in and out from the lungs. This lack of airflow can cause severe problems, such as heart disease, and can lead to other serious conditions.
COPD is a combination of diseases and disorders that, when combined, become severe and disabling if left untreated. The good news is current treatments for COPD are highly effective and can help prevent the ensuing heart disease, lung cancer and other life-threatening problems that can arise.
What Diseases Cause COPD Signs and Symptoms?
The two primary conditions that are involved in COPD are bronchitis and emphysema. Bronchitis is swelling and irritation of the lining of the bronchial tubes. These tubes are used to bring air in and out of the lungs. When this lining swells, a persistent cough develops and the body begins producing mucus that is difficult to expel.
Emphysema is the condition resulting from the destruction of these bronchial tubes ends. This damage is primarily caused by cigarette smoke and other poisonous toxins in the environment.
What Are the Typical COPD Signs and Symptoms to Watch For?
The most important thing is to stop smoking before the signs and symptoms develop. By the time you notice these signs, your lungs are already damaged. As the condition worsens, you may see any or all of the following COPD signs and symptoms:
- Mucus production with coughing
- Coughing becomes chronic. You may be producing mucus and coughing it out. This mucus could be clear, yellow, green or white.
- You need to clear your throat when you wake up in the morning because there is mucus built up.
- Wheezing and shortness of breath. This will increase during physical activity.
- Tightness of the chest.
- Swelling in your feet and ankles
- Loss of energy
- Respiratory infections
- Lips and fingernail beds may appear blue
- Later stages result in unintended weight loss as the body burns more calories simply to breathe
It is common for people suffering from COPD to have certain periods when their symptoms increase and become exacerbated for several days at a time before settling back into their new “normal” state of irritation.
Will COPD Signs and Symptoms Improve?
There are some very effective ways to treat COPD signs and symptoms. The most important thing is to quit smoking. COPD symptoms can be relieved with medications, typically in the form of inhalers used to provide medicine to open up the airways and temporarily reduce the swelling.
If you or a loved one are showing signs of COPD, contact DM Clinical Research today to learn more about ongoing clinical trials that can help treat everyone struggling with COPD.