Are You Living with Signs and Symptoms of COPD?

Are You Living with Signs and Symptoms of COPD?





















Symptoms of COPD

The main symptoms of COPD are:

  • increasing breathlessness, particularly when you’re active
  • a persistent chesty cough with phlegm – some people may dismiss this as just a “smoker’s cough”
  • frequent chest infections
  • persistent wheezing

Without treatment, the symptoms usually get slowly worse. There may also be periods when they get suddenly worse, known as a flare-up or exacerbation.

When to get medical advice

See your doctor if you have persistent symptoms of COPD, particularly if you’re over 35 and smoke or used to smoke. Don’t ignore the symptoms. If they’re caused by COPD, it’s best to start treatment as soon as possible, before your lungs become significantly damaged. Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and whether you smoke or have smoked in the past. They can organize a breathing test to help diagnose COPD and rule out other lung conditions, such as asthma.

Treatments for COPD

The damage to the lungs caused by COPD is permanent, but treatment can help slow down the progression of the condition. Treatments include:

  • stopping smoking – if you have COPD and you smoke, this is the most important thing you can do
  • inhalers and medications – to help make breathing easier
  • pulmonary rehabilitation – a specialized programme of exercise and education
  • surgery or a lung transplant – although this is only an option for a very small number of people
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