What Are the Symptoms of COPD?

9 answers | Last updated: Mar 08, 2015
A fellow caregiver asked...

What are the symptoms of COPD?

Expert Answers

Dr. Leslie Kernisan is a senior medical editor at Caring.com and a clinical instructor in the University of California, San Francisco, Division of Geriatrics. She also provides housecalls and geriatric consultations in San Francisco.

People with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) usually notice some of these symptoms:

  • Some shortness of breath during exertion (the first symptom)
  • A chronic cough for several months of the year, especially one that produces large amounts of mucus (also known as "smoker's cough")
  • Occasional wheezing or whistling breathing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath even when at rest (in advanced cases)

The symptoms tend to start gradually, worsening as time passes. It may be years before everyday functioning is impaired.

It's important to realize, however, that these symptoms are also seen in many other diseases affecting the lungs or the heart. To know for sure whether someone has COPD (and not another condition such as asthma or a heart problem), it's necessary for a doctor to run lung function tests.


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

ok was heplful

Mighty mouse answered...

don't have an answer at this time. I will stand by and see what others have to say about this. But will take the time to pray for those looking for answers.

Dee dee4 answered...

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Dee dee4 answered...

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Cwd answered...

This is new to me and looks very informitive. Thanks

Dandmloyd answered...

Interrupted sleep, excess mucus accumulation, shortness of breath and only able to walk short distances. At times when I would bend over to tie my shoes I would be so short of breath that I had to sit still for several minutes in order to catch my breath. When I would get out of bed at night upon returning to bed I could not lay flat on my pillows, but had to sit up straight until I could get a full breath. Also, my appetite is not as good as it use to be and nothing tastes good like it use to. TDisME in Texas

Babick answered...

I have had COPD and this answer is very true!!

A fellow caregiver answered...

I believe I am going through the early stages of COPD, my regular doctor doesnt know much, a little over a year ago I was admitted in to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack, my arms were sore and I just didnt feel right, turns out I was low on oxygen, (they called it Hypoxia for starters), now I'm on oxygen thearpy 24 hours a day, at home on an oxygen concenter and on the slim chance I get to venture out (I'm only 57), I take portable tanks, it's a pain and they can get to be quite heavy. I have just started seeing a Pulmonologist, and have just completed some tests, even had another CT done, I hope for good news when I see him again on May 1st. Wish me luck, please, I am tired of dragging things around, it's just so tiring. Thank you everyone, especially for letting me clear my chest of this worry.