The chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a progressive lung disease where a person typically suffers from emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Emphysema is a lung condition where the alveoli, which are the tiny sacs in the lungs that allow the passage of oxygen between the lungs and the bloodstream are destroyed. Chronic bronchitis is a lung condition in which the lining of the bronchial tubes start narrowing and suffer from inflammation.
The symptoms of COPD start on a mild side and if left untreated they become severe with the passage of time. Unfortunately, because of this, it is difficult to identify the disease in its early stages as the COPD lung disease symptoms are not distinct and there is a high probability that you might dismiss it as normal flu or cold. One of the most common and alarming COPD lung disease symptoms associated with this disease is having trouble breathing.
Read further to know more about the signs and symptoms that indicate that you might suffer from a case of COPD.
Early symptoms of COPD
The early signs and symptoms of COPD are nothing severe. Here are some of the common early symptoms that you need to pay heed to:
- Chronic cough
If you are suffering from chronic bronchitis then one of the most evident COPD lung disease symptoms that you will experience is a cough and excess of mucus production. While a cough can also mean that you are suffering from regular flu, if the cough is persistent and it lasts for months on end, then you should immediately see your doctor.
- Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing are other COPD lung disease symptoms that might be warning signs that suggest that you are suffering from COPD. Patients who suffer from COPD normally experience shortness of breath when they are performing a physical activity like climbing stairs or while they are working out.
- Having to clear your throat
Another common symptom that you will experience is having the urge to clear your throat frequently, especially when you wake up in the morning. You will require to clear your throat first thing in the morning because of the excess of mucus that is accumulated in your lungs.
Symptoms in the later stage
As the illness progresses, you will witness COPD lung disease symptoms that demand your attention. Here are some common COPD lung disease symptoms that people with COPD witness as the disease progresses.
Another common symptom that is linked with COPD is feeling lethargic and fatigue without doing intense physical work. You will notice that you feel drained out and lack energy even after having a good night sleep.
- Weight loss
Many people undergo a drastic weight loss suddenly if they develop a case of COPD. This usually happens in the later stages of the disorder. If you notice that you have lost considerable weight suddenly and show many of the above COPD lung disease symptoms, then see a doctor immediately and discuss your health.
- Swelling in feet and legs
Some people who develop COPD also experience swelling in feet, ankles, and legs, which makes it difficult for them to carry out daily activities. Note that this swelling is not caused by the COPD disease itself, but because of complication like pulmonary hypertension, which is linked with the disease.
Complication of COPD
Along with the common signs and symptoms, COPD also brings along many health complications. Here are some of the most common health complications that are linked with COPD.
- Respiratory infections
It is observed that people suffering from COPD are vulnerable to catching a cold, flu or pneumonia, more than the rest of the population. Note that any type of respiratory infection will further make it difficult for the patient to breathe and cause further damage to your lung tissue.
- Heart problems
Though the reason behind this is unclear, it is observed that people who suffer from COPD are at a high risk of developing heart diseases, including a heart attack.
- Lung cancer
You must want to know that one of the most serious ailments associated with COPD is lung cancer. People suffering from COPD are at a higher risk of developing lung cancer as compared to the rest of the crowd. So, make sure that you quit smoking and get your COPD condition treated before it progresses and becomes fatal.
It is noted that COPD patients find it difficult to perform activities that make them happy as they have difficulty breathing and easily get tired. To top it off, COPD is a serious illness that is not easy to manage. So, many patients end up slipping into depression.
Fortunately, you can prevent developing COPD by quitting tobacco smoking and limiting your exposure to air pollutants. In case you feel that you are suffering from the disease, make sure that you do not procrastinate and start your treatment at the earliest. It is easier to cure and manage the disease if you can detect it at an initial stage compared to an advanced stage.