Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease exhibits signs and symptoms that are usually similar to that of other lung conditions and diseases. To rule it out and clear things up, whenever you feel like you’re really sick or short of breath and you’re a chronic cigarette smoker, then it’s best to consult a doctor immediately. This article is especially written for non-medical individuals who are seeking a more in-depth knowledge of COPD, its signs and symptoms and why these manifestations happen.
In the United States, COPD is an umbrella term for two major lung diseases that smokers are susceptible to: chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
COPD doesn't have early noticeable signs and symptoms, patients manifest them a little too late and they have to rely on medication and oxygen therapy in order to improve the quality of life. Symptoms start to appear shortly after tremendous lung tissue damage takes place. There are people who may not even be aware that they already have the disease not until they feel resting breathing difficulties. The cardinal sign of COPD is shortness of breath, that’s why you have to consult medical attention immediately if you feel this symptom as a chronic discomfort on your part especially if you’re a long-term smoker.
Productive cough is another symptom of the disease. Saliva is spit out of the body orally and with it comes secretions or discharges from the lining of the respiratory tract. This type of cough usually starts in the morning and progresses all throughout the day, with each hack comes sputum.
As the cough intensifies through the course of the disease, a COPD patient may then manifest hemoptysis or blood-streaked sputum. Keep in mind though that hemoptysis is also one of the aggravating signs of lung cancer and trauma. Wheezing on the other hand is a whistle-like sound that you can hear when you take in air and exhale it. Wheezing is caused by the narrowing air passages, as air is forced out through them with more friction.
The other signs and symptoms include cyanosis, in which the skin turns bluish because of chronic lack of oxygen, edema, and weight loss.