COPD Signs & Symptoms

Man undergoing respiratory test for COPDChronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a respiratory disease combination of both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD sufferers experience the narrowing of the airways, which results in decreased airflow through the lungs. With less oxygen flowing in and out of the lungs, COPD patients develop dyspnea (shortness of breath). Caused by noxious particles and gas, this disease usually gets gradually worse with time. COPD, also known as chronic obstructive airway disease (COAD) and chronic obstructive respiratory disease (CORD), is expected to be the fourth leading cause of death worldwide in 2030.

(See also: Treatments for COPD, COPD Tests & Diagnosis, and Drugs Used to Treat COPD)

If you have been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, learn more about this COPD clinical trial in DeLand, FL to see if you qualify!

COPD shows early warning signs and gets progressively critical with time. If the disease is diagnosed early on, there is a better chance of preserving lung function and keeping the prognosis at bay. It is important for COPD patients to recognize their own symptoms so that if they worsen they know to immediately call a doctor or ambulance if necessary. Early symptoms of COPD may include any or all of the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent cough
  • Chest heaviness/tightness
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Breathing through pursed lips
  • Abnormal/unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Sputum becoming thicker or stickier
  • Increase in sputum/mucous production
  • Change in sputum or color
  • Blood in sputum
  • Rapid breathing rate
  • Enlargement of the chest cavity
  • Reliance upon neck muscles to help with breathing
  • Decreased intensity of breath sounds
  • Prolonged exhalation
  • Slurring of speech
  • Confusion
  • Forgetfulness
  • Slurring
  • Exhaustion
  • Feeling ill
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Propping head up on pillows in order to avoid shortness of breath while sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Decrease in sex drive

Upon the following symptoms, COPD patients should contact their healthcare provider within six hours:

  • Shortness of breath does not cease with bronchodilator treatments inhaled one hour apart
  • Wheezing does not cease with bronchodilator treatments inhaled one hour apart

If COPD patients experience the following symptoms, they should contact their healthcare provider within 24 hours:

  • Sputum changes in color, odor, stickiness or thickness
  • Ankle swelling persists after a night of sleeping with feet up
  • Waking up twice or more at night being short of breath
  • Severe fatigue

Upon experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is imperative for COPD patients to call their healthcare provider immediately:

  • Inability to speak
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing
  • Inability to speak in full sentences
  • Cannot be woken up easily by others
  • Slurring of speech during acute respiratory infection
  • Exhaustion during acute respiratory infection
  • Confusion during acute respiratory infection
  • Forgetfulness during acute respiratory infection
  • Severe weakness
  • Fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or above
  • Shaking chills
  • Blood in sputum

It is important that more people learn the steps they can take to prevent this respiratory disease. With so many sufferers of COPD, more relief from the chest heaviness, excess mucous, breathing hardships and coughing is crucial. Clinical trials are underway across the globe to develop a new drug for COPD patients.

COPD is fatal but it can be managed. The disease is best treated the earlier it is diagnosed. If you experience any of the above symptoms, contact your healthcare provider and discuss the best course of action for your COPD.

Clinical Trial Indications