If you have COPD, you also may often have colds or other respiratory infections such as the flu, or influenza.
Not everyone who has the symptoms described 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 determine if 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 cause you to see a doctor. For example, you may become 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—or, if you are unable, family members or friends—should seek emergency care if you are experiencing the following:
As soon as you notice symptoms of COPD in yourself or a loved one, talk to your doctor. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your doctor visit.