According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, over 16 million Americans have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The belief is that millions more have the disease without knowing it. COPD is caused mostly by smoking cigarettes, or in some cases, excessive exposure to particulate matter or certain gases.
COPD has no cure, but if caught early, the disease’s progression can be slowed down, improving the patient’s quality of life and helping them avoid common complications like lung cancer and heart disease. Here are 5 signs that you may have COPD:
- Nonstop Coughing
Chronic and incessant coughing is one of the early symptoms of COPD. Coughing is the lungs’ reaction to irritants and when it persists for weeks, it may be a sign that the lungs are not working properly.
- Excessive Mucus
If the coughing is accompanied with excessive production of mucus (phlegm), that is not a good sign. When the lung is irritated, it may produce 3-times more mucus than normal.
- Constant Fatigue
A constant lack of energy and stamina is another symptom of COPD. When this is accompanied by the 2 symptoms above, it is time to visit a doctor.
- Shortness of Breath
COPD also causes shortness of breath, especially during physical activities like running or playing sports. You may also experience wheezing and tightness of the chest.
- Weight Loss
During the latter stages of COPD, patients may experience unplanned weight loss and swelling in the feet and ankles.
Because the signs above may be indicative of other illnesses, people hardly ever pay them attention. And since COPD worsens gradually, many don’t know they have the condition until their lungs have been significantly damaged.
If you notice any of the symptoms above, you need to get tested quickly. If you live/work in the Greater Houston Area, visit a PCP for Life facility for COPD diagnosis and primary care. Call 281-968-4096 to make an appointment.