At first, COPD may cause no symptoms or only mild symptoms. As the disease gets worse, symptoms usually become more severe. Common signs and symptoms of COPD include:
If you have COPD, you also may have colds or the flu (influenza) often.
Not everyone who has the symptoms above has COPD. Likewise, not everyone who has COPD has these symptoms. Some of the symptoms of COPD are similar to the symptoms of other diseases and conditions. Your doctor can find out whether you have COPD.
If your symptoms are mild, you may not notice them, or you may adjust your lifestyle to make breathing easier. For example, you may take the elevator instead of the stairs.
Over time, symptoms may become severe enough to see a doctor. For example, you may get short of breath during physical exertion.
The severity of your symptoms will depend on how much lung damage you have. If you keep smoking, the damage will occur faster than if you stop smoking.
Severe COPD can cause other symptoms, such as swelling in your ankles, feet, or legs; weight loss; and lower muscle endurance.
Some severe symptoms may require treatment in a hospital. You—with the help of family members or friends, if you're unable—should seek emergency care if:
The NHLBI "Grand Opportunity" Exome Sequencing Project
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for COPD, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
November 15, 2013
NIH survey identifies barriers to effective patient-provider dialogue about COPD
Lack of communication between patients and health care providers about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remains a major barrier to diagnosis of this disease, according to the results of a Web-based survey released today by the National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health.
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.